Song Thrush (was Tree Sparrows)

To: Sonja Ross <>,
Subject: Song Thrush (was Tree Sparrows)
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 21:11:43 +1100
I rather regret the disappearance of the Song Thrush. I enjoyed its song (more soprano than the Blackbird, with much repetition of phrases) and its zeal for snail removal. I noticed that they began to decline when snail-killer was issued mixed with fertilizer. I think this encouraged heavier use and it certainly poisoned Song Thrushes (it was also poisonous to dogs and I don't think that formulation is now available). Droughts and consequent snail shortages didn't help. The recent big drought for over 10 years, with increasingly severe water restrictions, meant that earthworms were also very hard to come by for a long time. Even Magpies found it hard to dig in the baked ground. I believe that Song Thrushes are still occasionally seen in the Botanic Gardens. The disappearance of large European-style gardens and their replacement with barren hard surfaces hasn't helped. Have you noticed how many front lawns have been converted to parking areas? Let alone the proliferation of flats, units and double occupancy of suburban blocks. And I haven't said anything about climate change either. How many other 'common' species will we lose in the next few years?

Back to Tree Sparrows. They used to be quite common locally in Ivanhoe. They nested in the roof of a neighbour's decrepit tin-shed garage. New occupants pulled the garage down and carefully blocked possum access to the house with repairs to the tiled roof. No more Tree Sparrows. House Sparrows persisted where fowls and rabbits were kept, but they are now very seldom seen in local gardens. They persist around shopping centres, but I no longer see them at the railway station, where both species used to nest in the stanchions, carrying twigs and papers into the crannies. Will we be asking in ten years time where are all the House Sparrows?

When we visited London in 2000, we were surprised by the absence of House Sparrows. We were told it was because modern buildings offer no crannies or ledges for their nests, and the ornamental cornices, ledges and column capitals on older buildings were all screened off with fine netting. Not many Feral Pigeons there either.

Anthea Fleming

On 29/12/2013 7:38 PM, Sonja Ross wrote:
Re the Song Thrush decline, another factor I've heard suggested, was the drop 
in the number of snails when the long drought reduced the amount of watering we 
could do in Melbourne.   Unfortunately the snails seem to have bounced back, 
but not the Thrush!

Birding-Aus mailing list

To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 2013.0.3462 / Virus Database: 3658/6957 - Release Date: 12/28/13

Birding-Aus mailing list

To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU