Singing Honeyeater aggression

To: <>
Subject: Singing Honeyeater aggression
From: "simon starr" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 21:29:11 +1000
Hi all,
Nearly a year ago I summarised bird sightings from a small block of
revegetation around my house here on the Northern plains of Victoria. It is
an isolated area of vegetation and as such acts as a stopover for birds on
the move. The numbers and diversity of bird sightings has increased as the
10 acres of trees and shrubs have grown (as you'd expect!) but in the last
year or so some birds have become much less frequent than before. The
average height of plants is now about 3 to 4 metres, perfect it seems for
the resident 3 or 4 pairs of Singing Honeyeaters, which  long ago reached
saturation point . I now regularly see Singers at sites nearby,very marginal
habitats such as a few boxthorns along a channel,or a narrow roadside strip
of exotics. Presumably these are offspring from the residents at home,booted
out due to lack of space.
The species that have declined include Superb Fairy-wrens,Grey
fantails,Whistlers,Yellow and Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Flame robins.
This mystified me for some time as I now have more habitat for these
species, and since they used to be permanent or temporary residents here I
thought I would be enjoying them in greater numbers. The penny dropped back
in April when I saw the first Grey fantail for the cool season. I only had 5
minutes to enjoy it before a Singer started chasing it,on and on and on
until both birds were high in the sky! On and on until there was no coming
back for the Fantail. This was repeated this week when one of the previously
resident Yellow Thornbills made a reappearance.Again the pursuit was
relentless. It seems that although the habitat is ideal for Singing
Honeyeaters and their population is booming,they still feel the need to
exclude any bird thats small enough to be excluded.,are they stretching the
available resources to the limit?!
God help me (and the Singing Honeyeaters) if I get Noisy Miners.
I remain hopeful that as the eucalypts get taller and more spread it will
become harder for the Singers to exclude other species.Increasing the size
of my patch might help too in the long term.
Until then I'll continue to enjoy their wonderful ringing calls which are
now very much a part of the landscape.
Simon starr,
Pyramid Hill,
P.S. Black Falcons and Spotted Harriers are back in the area.

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