Alarm calls and our reaction to them

Subject: Alarm calls and our reaction to them
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:44:58 +1100
Hi Janine,

Had a similar experience here at Gorokan, NSW Central Coast some years ago. I was sitting in the back yard, with only the usual chatter from the local birds, when there was a raptor alert from the Noisy Miners followed by several other species. at the peak of the ruckus, a Pomarine Jaeger sailed over low.

Small rodents are their main prey on their nesting grounds, so perhaps some occasionally get sick of fish and look for a rodent takeaway.

Carl Clifford

On 17/12/2013, at 11:25 AM, Janine Duffy wrote:

I think its amazing how well we humans come to understand the alarm calls of our local birds.

Recently I was out for a run in my local park in port Melbourne when I heard the 'Raptor above' alarm go up. Without thinking I looked up, searched the dark, stormy skies, only to see a fairly big Silver Gull.

The alarms intensified and reached proportions that I've rarely heard. Every small bird was involved. I was confused - this was not a reaction to a gull. So I kept looking in the sky thinking maybe something much bigger was up very high.

The gull kept circling over, and the alarms perfectly followed it. I got my small, fairly useless, running binoculars up. The 'gull' wasn't - it was darker, with longer wings, big heavy shoulders and a slightly wedge-shaped tail. It was a bit bigger than a Silver Gull.

Eventually it stopped circling around and disappeared. I think it was a Jaeger.

The wind that day was a howling Southerly, and I was only 500m from the beach, but even so I didn't know Jaegers hunted inland. This bird certainly was looking out for something and the small birds were highly aware of that.

I wished I'd seen more or had a camera!

JANINE DUFFY Director Marketing & Research
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