Re: Birds, lights and food

To: <>, "Syd Curtis" <>
Subject: Re: Birds, lights and food
From: "Philip A Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 12:19:16 +1000
There are some notes about birds hanging around lighted areas at night and
why they do this. This comment that I make in response is, I suspect
entirely ordinary, and would not otherwise warrant the effort but here goes.
I was at the Camp Blackman in Warrumbungles National Park (Central NSW)
early this month (just two nights). A Willie Wagtail inhabited the laundry
and toilet block, well into the evening (maybe all night) and was feeding on
the insects attracted to the building. It was very familiar with the
building as evidenced by the behaviour that when someone came to
investigate, it had no hesitation in flying through various of the available
exit holes and then coming back later. I think I recall a few years ago, The
Bird Observer had a set of correspondence about Silver Gulls feeding on
insects attracted by lights at night.
On a completely different note. The Warrumbungles Park information indicates
that the Sugar Glider could occur there but there are no records. I found an
adult pair with one half grown young, in the flowering ironbark trees,
immediately adgacent to the same camp amenities block.

-----Original Message-----
From: Syd Curtis <>
To:  <>
Date: Tuesday, 23 June 1998 22:40
Subject: Birds, lights and food

>In the discussion re starlings around street lamps, Jim Davis wrote -
>>Perhaps, starling hang around streets lamps beacuse that's where the food
>>(insects) is located - dead and alive.
>This reminded me of two incidents from the past:
>1. On a visit to the US of A in '72 to study National Park management (at
>government expense) and knowing that I had no excuse to go birding, I had
>an incidental private wish to see four particular species.  Not much to ask
>of fate.  I arrived early in the day at the Big Bend NP in Texas and had
>just sat down in the Superintendent's office to discuss Park managment,
>when I had to break off to say:  "Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"
>        "Oh, you mean the Roadrunner," said the Superintendent, "Yes, he
>comes around here every morning to check for insects attracted to the
>lights during the night."
>(I scored two more of my species equally fortuitously - Dippers and a large
>Woodpecker; Loons I have yet to meet.)
>2. On a couple of trips to Cairns in the 1980s I noted a Welcome Swallows
>nest, same place both times in the heart of the city, both times with
>chicks being fed 9 o'clock at night by parents that really had it made -
>with thousands of insects attracted to the lights just a few metres away.
>I was never there during the day to see if they rested then after the night
>Syd Curtis at Hawthorne
>H Syd Curtis

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