birding-aus Metallic Starlings et al

Subject: birding-aus Metallic Starlings et al
Date: Tue, 09 Feb 1999 15:52:19 +1000

Jan England's comments re the M. Starlings taking over from the Mynas was
of interest in that nothing seems to stop these birds when they are
abundant in the area during the breeding season - not even Mynas.
It has been of interest to the locals up here that Metallic Starlings have
established themselves in Cairns all year - or at least some groups have.
When I first moved to Cairns 13 years ago, you would never be able to find
this species during winter - April to Sept. However, now there are a number
of locations in Cairns where these birds can be seen at any time of the
year. It is believed that the resident groups remain in the area of their
breeding trees for the winter and fly out each day to feed.Other groups
continue to migrate.
Their Kamakazie-like flights through traffic near ground level at speed
Mach 1 never ceases to amaze me - how more aren't killed this way is a
tribute to their speed and manoeuvrability at such low altitudes.
Alas, they have not yet learnt how to miss windows and at this time of year
it is not unusual to find up to 15 birds dead in a mass suicide at the
bottom of a building - particularly ones where there is a clear view from
one side to the other - as in school classroom blocks.
The next great hope is that the magnificent Pied Imperial Pigeon will be
the next summer visitor to remain all year - some (presumed) juvenile birds
have been recorded here as late as June/July. And then there's the
Buff-breasted Kingfisher to work on!
Max O'Sullivan

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