birding-aus Re: Early birds

Subject: birding-aus Re: Early birds
From: "David Geering"<>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 08:40:57 +1000


I suggest that early calling birds are not necessarily feeding but calling
from their roost site (or perhaps nearby - don't want to tell everyone
where you sleep I suppose).  There are a number of theories about why birds
call in a dawn chorus.  Advertising their territory one good explanation,
sounding of the roll call another - Oh dear! Ralph the Catbird died in his

My experience of regularly camping in the northern NSW rainforests are that
the early callers are Eastern Yellow Robin, Bassian and Russet-tailed
Thrush, Catbird and Logrunners.  Many years ago I placed a tape record in a
rainforest gully to get a recording of the dawn chorus and then went back
to bed.  The result was impressive - from silence to a gradual, but fairly
quick, increase in the number of species calling.  A Russet-tailed Thrush
gradually came closer and closer until I swear that it was just in front of
the microphone.  Obviously this species is on the move early.

While setting mist-nests in rainforest, often in the half dark, it was not
unusual to catch birds before the net was on the second set of poles.
These were often Lewin's Honeyeaters.  Guess that the early bird also gets
the early fruit, at least you get your fair share.  Other early movers are
the thrushes and Catbirds.  If I was going to catch a Catbird it was almost
invariably first thing before sunrise.  This might merely reflect that they
move lower early in the day but they were on the move before full light.


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