Birds in the heat

To: Joy Tansey <>, Birding-aus <>
Subject: Birds in the heat
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 11:32:18 +1100
During my time in the Broome Bird Observatory, whenever the mercury would rise to 45 degrees a number of birds would hit "struggle street". The Yellow White-eyes would try and crawl and crowd into root buttresses or knotholes. I could walk right up to them and these little fellows would still not leave what must have been the relative coolness of the knotholes and buttresses - even though they were all packed in together!

You'd get lots of window strikes on those days by Yellow White-eyes too. To help my little friends out when things got too extreme, I used to put up the "birdy shower". This was made by plugging an end of a length of hose and poking holes in it. I'd connect it up to the tap, hang the lot in a tree, turn it on, sit back and watch the fun. Without a word of a lie, all the birds would hold a truce as you'd have one of the local Brown Goshawks sitting there soaking it up surrounded by Brown Honeyeaters, Singing Honeyeaters, Peaceful Doves and Yellow White-eyes. Even the hardy Grey-crowned Babblers would get in on the act. The Goshawk's style was to rustle around in the damp leaf litter whilst water poured down on her. The others, they just perched within easy snapping range of the raptor, who obviously figured it was too hot to eat, while the little bushbirds figured it was worth the risk.

I can put up images of the Yellow White-eyes odd root buttress crowding behaviour, if anyone is interested in viewing.

Happy birding

Ricki Coughlan
Belrose, Sydney

On 12/12/2006, at 11:14 AM, Joy Tansey wrote:

I have had a similar experience in the heart of Melbourne with Silver Gulls taking the same advantage of the minimal shade thrown by a lampost in the middle of the Queen Victoria Market car park on an extremely hot summers day.

Joy Tansey
Altona Meadows

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