Urbanising Birds

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Urbanising Birds
From: knightl <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 21:42:08 +1000
It is interesting to consider the adaptation of Australian bird species to the urban environment. Nowdays there are many species resident in our suburbs and the edges of the CBDs, but most are dependent on habitat anchors. The crakes, rails and bitterns seen around Brisbane, for example, are [just about] always in the vicinity of water and lurking points. Similarly, the waterfowl rarely venture beyond a threshold distance from a water body. Turkeys, thickknees, koels, coucals can be found in parks on the edge of the CBD, but not inside the concrete zone. Even the crows seem to be thin on the ground in the heart of town.

The two Australian species that seem to have adapted to life in the Brisbane CBD are the white ibis [garbage birds that beat up the pigeons and sparrows] and the peregrine falcons. The ibis patrol the CBD parks and have mastered the art of drinking from fountains. The peregrines patrol the skies and live on the pigeons. I found it interesting to watch the web cam footage - particularly the videos of the falcons nesting on the Admiralty Towers. These are raptors that have fully adapted to living in a totally artificial environment - they can live their entire lifecycle without leaving the CBD. I can't think of any other raptors similarly at home in the concrete zone - the black shouldered kites, pacific bazas, brown goshawks, wedgetail eagles, boobook owls and brahminy kites etc that I have seen around Brisbane have all been in the vicinity of rivers and woodlands.

Are peregrines especially suited to life in the concrete jungle because they are adapted to hunting pigeons and are comfortable nesting on high rise buildings? According to the item in the Courier Mail - 0,5936,10825399%255E3102,00.html - there are two pairs of peregrines raising chicks in the Brisbane CBD. Given that the respective buildings are only a couple of hundred metres apart, would there be scope for a third pair to establish in the CBD? The supply of pigeons would certainly be high enough ...

Regards, Laurie.

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