Flightless Noisy Miners

Subject: Flightless Noisy Miners
From: "Dean Portelli" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 17:14:54 +1000
Hi All,
Yesterday in my suburban street in Westmead (Sydney) I saw one Noisy miner that had its wings and tail clipped (the tail about a quarter its normal length, and wings cut off in the basal third of the flight feathers - the bird was seen well and it was clear that the feathers were cut with scissors). I also saw another bird with no tail at all but complete wings. Now today I have seen an additional bird two birds, another with no tail whatsoever and a fourth bird that also has no tail and has had the flight feathers clipped very close to their bases. All birds are part of the same colony. The flightless individuals get about by hopping around on the ground. Although it still baffles me I suspect some ignorant person(s) has attempted to make pets out of the birds by making them flightless (like people do with their pet budgerigars), without realising that they are firstly committing several crimes and secondly that they are jeopardising the survival of the birds (luckily cats don't seem to be common in my area - lots of apartment blocks, but obtaining sufficient food may be an issue for these birds). But how they managed to catch at least two of the birds in the first place puzzles me, perhaps they attracted them in with food (I know that at least a few people feed the birds in my street - we have lots of Common Mynas, Turtle-Doves, Rock Doves, Noisy Miners, Pied Currawongs, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets - these are the most common birds). I recall Penelope Drake-Brockman commenting on a similarly flightless magpie-lark, and I have previously found a Rock Dove with cut flight feathers. What are people's thoughts on the survival prospects of these flightless miners? Or any other comments on this most bizarre situation.

Cheers, Dean

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