It sure seems weird and there probably is no
logical reason. It probably is just because it is a large bird with big beak
nearby having an impact on a bird with a heightened aggression
You probably all know of the old ethological
experiment of having a cut out shape that: being towed on a string going in one
direction supposedly looks like a flying hawk but going in the opposite
direction supposedly looks like a flying goose. Well ducklings and goslings
supposedly show instinctive alarm at the "hawk" space-time image and
no alarm at the "goose" space-time image. It could be that simple
although someone else suggested they could get the same reaction from a triangle
towed point first (as a oversimplified "goose") or edge first as a
oversimplified "hawk" or maybe it is that the point first image is
less visually sudden. Other experiments suggested it was just a matter of
habituation as in what sights are the birds familiar with. Something that is new
being something to be afraid of. To a Wattlebird, a
Pelican or Ibis at close range is probably something like that.
Val Ford <>
Friday, 24 December 2004 8:59
Subject: Re: [BIRDING-AUS] Red
Wattlebird chasing Pelican
Val Curtis's message about Red Wattlebird
chasing Pelican has reminded me of a Straw-necked Ibis - Red Wattlebird
encounter in my garden a few months ago.
For two days I had a single Straw-necked Ibis
feeding on my lawn. It was collecting mainly underground spiders and
inserting the full length of its bill to do so.
The ibis was accepted by all the resident birds
except a nesting Red Wattlebird which spent a lot of energy trying to get
the ibis to move on which of course didn't happen until the ibis was
ready to leave.
As Val asked about the pelican I now ask why
would a Red Wattlebird need to harass an a Straw-necked Ibis?