Currawongs attack Kookaburras

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Currawongs attack Kookaburras
From: Bob Lake <>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 09:39:14 +1030
We have 'resident' Kookaburras and Currawongs in and around our garden - 
frequently very noisy. At 7.30am this morning the Kookaburra calls seemed 
distressed and were accompanied by very loud Currawong calls, so I went through 
to the orchard end of the garden, suspecting a cat or snake. Instead I found 
four Kookaburras, on the ground under low scrub and vines, on our neighbour's 
side of a boundary fence, penned up against 50mm chicken wire with six or more 
Currawongs right above them, flapping and calling aggressively. The vine cover 
above them made it impossible for the Kookaburras to fly off without exposing 
themselves to the Currawongs.Two Kookaburras had pushed their heads through the 
wire netting at near-ground level and were straining and flapping vainly to get 
through, one was hurling itself at the netting time and again, and the last had 
driven its head through the wire slightly higher up and was hanging by its 
neck, wings down, feet clear of the ground, apparently dead. The always-wary 
Currawongs took off when I arrived and I managed to shepherd the three 
frightened Kookaburras back through the vines on to open ground where they flew 
away. As I leaned over to remove the 'dead' one hanging from the wire, it moved 
its bill - it was alive. As soon as I freed it, this one too flew away, 
apparently unharmed.The Kookaburras were around adult size but I think they 
were well grown juveniles. What I can't understand is what four of them were 
doing together, on the ground, penned up against a fence by Currawongs. The way 
in which they were surrounded meant there was no way back into open ground 
without facing Currawongs, and the Currawongs, some only 40cm above them in the 
bushes, were in attacking mode.  I assume the Currawongs were looking for a 
meal. Were the Kookaburras herded there? How on earth did the Currawongs chase 
four Kookaburras into such a trapped position? My next thought was that the old 
wire netting which is generally covered in vines and with low scrub on my 
neighbour's side, was a dangerous trap for birds. On the other hand, a 
different type of fence would probably not have made much difference and this 
is the first incident of this kind I have seen. Does anybody have any thoughts 
on this? Bob Lake. Tamborine Mountain. Queensland.
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