Scarlet Robin Behaviour

To: Russell Woodford <>
Subject: Scarlet Robin Behaviour
From: Merrilyn Serong <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 23:19:36 +1000
I vote for "Russell's Law"

Russell Woodford wrote:

Hi all

Sorry if anyone has been trying to get in touch with me  - I've been
away at a school camp for a couple of days.  It was a music camp but
the kids kept calling it "Band Camp" followed by a grin and a knowing
look ...  you've got to have seen the movie (American Pie)!

Anyway, just thought I'd pass on an interesting observation.

I watched a male Scarlet Robin having a great time with its reflection
today.  I know this sort of behaviour is well documented for many
species, but I can't remember seeing any of the Petroica robins doing
it before - probably because I'm used to seeing them in the bush and
not around a house.  Anyway, this little fellow was spending a lot of
time checking out the reflection in a large window, and tried
attacking it for a few flurries every couple of minutes.  The bird
kept returning to the same branch and the same window for at least 20
minutes - not sure what happened after that.  There was a female
around but she only came near the window once, and showed no interest
in the "2nd" male.

It was quite magical watching all this from the side (another window,
less reflective at this time of day) and about 1 meter away.

By the way, I'd been for a very brisk 45-minute walk just around dawn,
hoping to see some of the local birdlife (just outside Daylesford,
Vic) before our students got moving for the day. I didn't see much
until I got back to the camp and looked out over the big backyard - I
needn't have gone anywhere else!  Surely there's a name for this "law"
(other than Murphy's) where you try to find birds the hard way, and
they're back at home waiting for you.       I recall a few people
telling of full-day bashes around in thick scrub looking for elusive
species that turn up on the car bonnet at the end of the day.  So
who's law is this???  It's got to have a name....

Russell Woodford
Birding-Aus List Owner
Geelong   Victoria   Australia
38º 04' 09" S    144º 23' 53" E

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