birding-aus Disturbing (Oriole) Reflections

To: "'Birding-Aus'" <>
Subject: birding-aus Disturbing (Oriole) Reflections
From: "Atzeni, Michael" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 15:18:35 +1000

The following article appeared in our local club's newsletter recently, but
Michael and I thought it would be of interest to the list, and hopefully
someone can explain this bird's odd behaviour.
Michael Atzeni
Examples of male passerines attacking their reflections are common: assaults
on windows, car mirrors and hub-caps can be so frequent as to become quite
tedious, especially when the mirror etc has to be repeatedly cleaned.
However my daughter, in the leafy Brisbane suburb of Corinda, has been
witnessing an interesting variation on this theme.  An Olive-backed Oriole
has been coming to the kitchen window and offering fruit to it, mainly ochna
berries, and also to the car windows, depositing the berries inside.  While
we were there the oriole frequented the kitchen window, though I never saw
the action in question.
As well as the familiar "or-i-ole" call, it often uttered a whistle that,
with its scratchy quality, reminded me of a drongo. (I see the 'old' Pizzey
calls them "scratchy warbles" which describes the calls much better than I.)
Did the bird recognise itself as a potential mate (feeding often occurs in
courtship) or did it believe that it was offering food to a fledgling?
Perhaps a psychologist would go away muttering darkly about a Narcissus
complex.  Anyway, that bird has problems, as the behaviour has been going on
for over two months.
Michael Hirst, Toowoomba, 30/11/98

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