Fw: Fw: Alarm calls

To: "Mick Roderick" <>, "Shirley Cook" <>, "Messages Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Fw: Fw: Alarm calls
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2013 21:07:29 +1100
While generally agreeing with most of the comments re. the response to raptors and other predators by Noisy Miners my experience at Coutts Crossing, north coast NSW, is slightly different, at least in the order that the more urgent calls are used. By far the most strident and high pitched urgent calls are used when a falcon, either a Peregrine or a Hobby, is on the hunt, either quite low or at some height. Goshawks and Collared Sparrowhawks are mobbed incessantly by the Miners, along with Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Magpie-larks, Grey Butcherbirds etc. but the calls are not as excited or urgent, however when the perched Accipiter takes off it is pursued by its tormentors and the Miners increase the urgency, pitch etc of their calls but nowhere to the extent of the calls used for the falcons. A pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring at some height elicits another type of alarm call which is less urgent/agitated than the other two. I am glad that Paul McDonald is researching this topic as I hope that he will develop a standard way of describing the calls as I am struggling to be coherent!! Alarm calls used for snakes and possums are similar to those used for perched Accipiters but there may be subtle differences which are not apparent to the casual observer (me).



Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
| 02 6649 3153  | 0429 601 960

-----Original Message----- From: Mick Roderick
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 9:49 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.


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