Re: UK birders, Frivilous Replies and Caper Whites

To: sonnenburg <>
Subject: Re: UK birders, Frivilous Replies and Caper Whites
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:26:31 +1100
sonnenburg wrote:
> I have a UK acquaintance visiting Australia in January and he is
> visiting Sydney and Melbourne amongst other places.  Obviously he is
> keen to bird in both places and is looking for birding guides on a
> casual basis.  He is willing to pay for services.  Whilst in Melbourne
> he is keen to visit Werribee. Please let me know if you or anyone else
> can assist.
> A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo carrying
> a pink rose and asked for serious scientific comment.  I can only say
> that my replies can at best be described as frivolous, lacking totally
> in meaningful reasoning.   I would have thought that Melbourne based
> students of ornithology could have offered more.
> This behaviour has been described in Fairy-Wrens as furgling and there
> was an article in Sunbird in July 1990.  But what of Cockatoos?
> A couple of weeks ago I was sitting studying in my home in inner
> suburban Brisbane looking wistfully out of the window at the birds etc
> and noticed that Caper Whites were heading north in large numbers.
> This continued all day and for several days.  At any given time I
> could see at least 30 butterflies.  Heaps of the buggars!!
> Cheers
> Roy Sonnenburg
> PS   Congratulations to Lloyd and others for winning the war so far at
> Julatten.  Let us hope it is also the battle.

Dear Roy, Re Sulphur-crested Cockatoo carrying pink rose.
   I can't remember whether your cocky was carrying it in beak or foot. 
I have seen SC cockies feeding on dry thistle and artichoke-thistle
heads - they often flew off carrying a head by the stem in a foot -
(always the left foot incidentally) -if startled, and then went on with
seed-extracting on a branch.  Cockies will bite anything - to see what
it's like?  I have no idea why they eat bits off cedar window-frames
either but they do - beak-exercise?
   I have also heard of a pair of Eastern Rosellas who bit off all the
flowers from a flowering cherry - I doubt if they found nectar there
   Where lorikeets and other parrots have been feeding in gumblossom,the
ground is always carpeted with dropped blossom. But i haven't ever SEEN
lorikeets biting blossom off, they just lick at nectar.  Perhaps the
flower stems are broken by all the clambering feet?
   I don't think any of these remarks answer your query, but best I can
do. No-one who has ever known a pet cocky doubts their intelligence, so
perhaps we should admit they sometimes do odd or experimental things
from curiosity or for fun.
   Best wishes, ANTHEA FLEMING

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