Thu, 4 Jul 2002 18:10:31 +1000
Michael Hunter wrote
> Just excluding other lerp-eating birds and themselves not
> "overharvesting", is enough to ensure plenty of lerps in Bell Miner
> territories, other things being equal. Otherwise they don't actively
> the lerps.
It's my understanding that Bell Miners feed on the sugary protective shell
of the lerp and not the insect itself and when this is coupled with
excluding other birds which do eat the insect, this leads to an increase in
the number of lerps in an area. I don't know if you can call this farming,
but it does increase the numbers of lerps within the Bell Miner colony to
the point that they can kill the trees within the area of the colony. A good
example of this can be seen from the freeway at just north of Ourimbah.
There is a stand of trees (Sydney 'blue gum' I think) that look really
unwell to the point that some have died.
Hopefully with Bell Miners getting more and more common, Swift Parrots (and
others) can make use of this locally rich resource, with the added benefit
of keeping the trees in Bell Miner colonies healthier.
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