Bass Straight migrants and poisonous Aussie birds - birdng myths?

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Bass Straight migrants and poisonous Aussie birds - birdng myths?
From: Steve Clark <>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 20:18:40 +1000
G'day all

When I was a kid (the Beatles were big at the time) it was 'common
knowledge' that Flame Robins migrated across Bass Straight from
Tasmania to winter in Victoria.  It still says this in at least some
field guides.  The relevant HANZAB volume published in 2002 says it is
not certain that they do.

What do we know today?  No anecdotes of Flame Robins flying north into
dune scrub in autumn along coastal Victoria please.  Do we have any
solid proof?  Banding evidence would be required I think.

While I'm exploring possible myths I also recall reading (when I was a
kid) that Bronzewing Pigeons accumulated some poison in their bodies
(bones specifically I think) and would kill any dogs that ate them.

Cany anyone offer solid evidence of this and propose the mechanism?
The Pitohui of New Guinea are regarded as the only poisonous birds but
it possibly ain't so.  Pitohuis also probably get their poison second
hand via their diet. It was only in 1989 that they were found to be
poisonous so the Bronzewing would take precedence.

Any other Australian bird myths to bust or confirm?

Steve Clark
Hamilton, VIc

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