I was quite interested in your posting. Let us hope the magpies keep up this
excellent work and more catch on!
On Friday I was working in a friends back yard (Brunswich East, Inner
Melbourne) clearing up, weeding etc. At 1 point I was crouching under a
Cowich tree weeding when I was struck in the back by an adult (breeding
plumage) starling which then crashed to the ground in front of me. It was
stunned, gasping for breath and had its gaping mouth full of saliva.
I picked up the bird when it fell and had decided to get a box to put it in.
As I walked to the house there was a commotion overhead in the tree. The
wattlebirds and White Plumed Honeyeaters were annoyed and mobbing something.
Then they all flew off to adjacent trees. I thought I saw something brown
move in that vicinity, and spent a lot of time peering up into the foliage
expecting a raptor to emerge. None did as far as I saw and I could not find
anything else. In time the honey-eaters etc started to return to the area,
minus all the distress/warning calls.
The starling soon died. It appeared otherwise very healthy. Plumage in GOOD
colourfull breeding condition. No apparant mite etc infestation. No blood or
other signs of injuries.
and No magpies about!
I can't decide if it had
- taken poison somewhere nearby,
- flown into a wire or something,
- been attached by the wattlies and H'eaters
- been attacked by a raptor I'd not seen
- been attached by a rat, maybe in its nest - there was evidence of them
I've not experienced starlings falling from the skies like this before,
although there are plenty (too many) around. It's a puzzlement!
ps A friend had a pet, domestic duck (can't recall gender or breed) that on
several occassions caught and drowned Black Birds in it's water trough, by
holding the BB under the water with it's bill!!
pps Yesterday I was travelling from Melbourne to geelong, Vic. There were
large nos of cyclists taking part in a ride along the Princes Freeway. Saw
an example of where the bike helmet laws are an additional bonus to the
cyclists (apart from protecting head in falls/collisions) - protection from
swooping Magpies! A cyclist, apparently unaware, was being swooped from
behind by a Magpie. This rider was ahead of the main bunch. I expect this
Magpie was going to have a very busy day! I hope it did not come to grief in
all the nearby Motor Vehicle traffic while it was concentrating on the