On 16/05/2012 9:48 AM, Steve Clark wrote:
G'day Sonja and Anthea
Thanks for your replies.
I contacted Xenia Dennett and she has very kindly given me the
reference to the work on Flame Robins which she and Rosemary and Peter
Balmford carried out at Cape Liptrap.
It was written up in "VORG Notes" June 1982, vol.18, pt.1.
As this may not be readily available to those who are interested, I will
summarize it here.
The party went to Cape Liptrap for Easter 1982, believing that the
full moon might have some relevance to the birds' movements.
On 9th April 1982 no Flame Robins were seen.
On the morning of 10 April, 1 male and 2 females (ie brown birds) were
trapped and banded.
On 11 April, 10 males and 29 females were banded.
On the 12th, 4 males and 8 females were banded.
On the 13th only a few birds were present.
I believe the birds were trapped individually (not mist-netted) and
only a small proportion of the birds present were banded.
The banders were absolutely convinced that the birds had flown in
overnight, because in the morning they were perched on bushes on the
precipitous cliffs, apparently exhausted, until they recovered enough to
make their way to the cliff-top and start seeking food and moving on.
Unfortunately no bands were ever recovered. I understand a few birds
were banded by one worker in Tasmania.
For banding studies to produce useful data, a large number of workers
are required at both ends of the journey, over the whole migratory
season, for many years. In Australia the high variability of the
seasons adds to the difficulty.
I'm aware of the Gastrolobium poison bush in WA. Anthea has turned up
which is good evidence that the pigeons accumulate poison from the
seeds of Gastrolobium bilobum in Western Australia.
Has anyone ever extracted poison from a Bronzewing and analysed it?
What is the situation in other parts of the Bronzewings' range?
Why are Pitohuis claimed to be the first known poisonous birds? This
article mentions others (including Bronzewings):
It seems that others were known or suspected earlier but the chemical
in Pitohui poison was the first to be identified.
There appears to be no conclusive evidence that Flame Robins migrate
across Bass Strait unless Anthea can track down the unpublished
research of Balmford and Dennett. I wouldn't be at all suprised if
they do cross the Strait but it would be nice to have evidence.
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