There are also different calls for sitting versus flying raptors of the same
species. What we hear as "urgency" greatly increases when a Hobby gets off its
perch and starts raking the 'burbs. Mick I agree there seems a very high level
of urgency relating to hobbies, and I think this may be because they have a
habit of flying rapidly over the suburbs/tree tops trying to flush things.
Everything gets very suddenly scared. You can definitely track a Hobby by
listening to the wave of alarm calls and fleeing birds. If the hobby is below
the tree/roof tops, and you can't see it, look for the lorikeets flying above
it, and the pied butchebirds going up and down, dive bombing, as it passes
thtrough their territory.
Also, not only miners, but many other species have different bird calls for
different raptor species - ones that I've observed regularly enough to be sure
of this include BF honeyeaters (honorary miners anyway), various Melithreptus
(esp. white-throated honeyeaters), drongos, woodswallows, swallows, fork-tailed
swifts, little friarbirds, grey, pied and BB butherbirds. I'm sure there's more
Most species recognise other species' alarm calls I think, and respond/join in
accordingly. Peaceful doves seem especially challenged though in this respect
and hence the regularity on hobby's menu.
Great topic, a favourite of mine.
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On Behalf Of Mick Roderick
Sent: Tuesday, 17 December 2013 8:49 AM
To: Shirley Cook; Messages Birding-aus
Subject: Fw: Fw: Alarm calls
I totally agree with Stephen and have been trying to nut this out at home. Here
at Shortland (on the edge of Hexham Swamp, Hunter Estuary, NSW) we are blessed
with a good variety of raptors. I have had 18 species fly over my house during
the past 12 months (I work from home so spend a lot of time here!). We are also
"blessed" with an uber-aggressive mob of Noisy Miners (I have seen them
near-kill a White Ibis and have brought egrets down to the ground).
As Stephen says, one can tell which type of raptor is approaching by the pitch
and 'urgency' of the Noisy Miner alarm calls. The most frantic calls occur when
an Accipiter approaches (less so for a Grey Gos), followed by Hobby, Peregrine
then maybe other falcons. The Hobby can really get the neighbourhood going
though and is possibly the only bird that causes every antenna-perched pigeon
to leave their perches in a panic. You can almost track a Hobby by listening to
the wave of alarm calls and fleeing birds.
I was first alerted to this (pardon the pun) by when my first Little Eagle flew
over the house. The alarm was completely different to any of the others I had
heard and sure enough, a 'different' raptor appeared.
They do not bother sounding off at Whistling Kites and only do so at Black
Kites because they're a rare visitor here.
The alarm for Corvids (there are resident Aussie Ravens and Torresian Crows
here) is completely different. It's hardly an 'alarm' at all but is that
relentless 'near near near' that Noisy Miners are famous for. It's probably the
same for the cuckoos.
On Tuesday, 17 December 2013 9:25 AM, Shirley Cook <>
Here is a very interesting comment from Stephen Debus.