Tasmanian lyrebirds - RFI

To: <>
Subject: Tasmanian lyrebirds - RFI
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Fri, 08 Mar 2002 17:19:51 +1000
Having more than a passing interest in lyrebirds, I took the opportunity
when in Tasmania last week, to inquire about the Tasmanian introduced
population.  The Ranger at the Hobart NP Inquiry counter, recommended the
Hasting's River Caves population as the most accessible.  The Ranger at the
Hasting's visitor centre advised that they were singing well near
Chesterman's Road and that she wondered if they were already commencing
their breeding season.

As soon as we pulled up at Chesterman's road, my wife heard one calling.  I
donned hearing-aids and likewise could hear him.  Within a few hundred
metres of the road I saw two males and heard others.  The day was heavily
overcast and I had no map or compass, so I declined the lyrebirds'
enticement to venture ever further into the forest.  In my short walk I did
see what appeared to be two mounds freshly scratched over.  The forest is
excellent lyrebird habitat, with deep litter over rich soil, and very little
ground cover.  (Contrast this latter with what I've heard is the situation
in Sherbrooke Forest where wire-grass etc., is taking over in the absence of
fire, and significantly reducing the area over which lyrebirds can forage.)

The relatively open-floored nature of the forest did mean that I could have
been mistaken in what I reckoned to be display mounds, but I don't think I

I hope some time, not necessarily this year, to visit the Hasting's
lyrebirds to tape record their breeding season song,  and it would be most
frustrating indeed were I to go there in June or July - the normal lyrebird
breeding season - and then find that they have changed their breeding season
to March/April, and I've wasted my trip.

Can anyone guide me in this?  (The Ranger at Hasting's River knew of no-one
presently working on the lyrebirds there.)

I recall Norman Robinson telling me of seeing occupied lyrebird nests in
Tidbinbilla (near Canberra) covered in snow, so it seems unlikely that the
Tasmanian lyrebirds would change their breeding season because of the colder
But on the other hand, Eastern Whipbirds nest in winter on Tamborine
Mountain (southern Qld.) where I grew up, but I understand they are
Spring/Summer breeders in the south.


Syd Curtis

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