Re: Bulbuls in Melbourne

To: "Martin O'Brien" <>
Subject: Re: Bulbuls in Melbourne
From: Laurie Living <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 21:52:19 +1000

Hi Martin and others interested in bulbuls

A late note as I catch up with my mail.

Bulbuls have been sighted in the Dandenong Ranges during the last five
or so years. For non-Victorians the Dandenongs are some 40 kms east of

Some sightings have been reported in The Bird Observer for the area but
I know of three small 'colonies', two in The Basin, and one in Fern Tree
Gully. The Basin birds seemed to have numbered no more than three or
four at any one time, and in 1996 I saw six birds in the Fern Tree Gully
group in late Spring. This group included juveniles/immatures.

A birdo friend in FTG has been photgraphing and recording the calls of
the bulbuls there, where they are regular visitors to his garden and
veranda with grape vines. His garden is extensively planted with fruit
trees, apples, lemons, conquats, plums etc and other exotic flowering
plants. The bulbuls are particularly partial to grapes in season, a loss
of grapes but making for easy bird study through the kitchen window. The
Basin birds have also been observed in fruit trees.

In 1996 we found the bulbuls up and down the street, visiting
neighbouring gardens seeking out feeding sites, and in 1997 the number
of birds dropped back to two or three. We speculated then that the
habitat is not adequate for large numbers of this species; this habitat
is shared by the exotics, blackbirds and song thrush, and in 1996 red
wattlebirds were joined by little [brush?] wattlebirds as colonisers of
the area. Other regular species include eastern spinebill, crimson
rosellas, sulphur crested cockatoos and musk lorikeets.

The houses on one side in this street back onto a creek and open farm
land that has a reasonable cover of blackberries and 'prickly moses'.

It is feasible that the bulbuls in these three sites are 'linked', the
distance between the two Basin sights being 8 kilometres, and to the
Fern Tree Gully site 15 kilometres, as cars go.

While the bulbuls appear to be hanging on here there is not much
evidence yet that there has been any significant increase in population,
with the FTG population remaining small suggesting that some birds are
forced to move on after the breeding season.

Enough of these meanderings, but very interested in any interpretation
of the above.

Cheers Laurie Living

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