FW: Birds drinking in the heat

To: <>
Subject: FW: Birds drinking in the heat
From: "Barney Enders" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2015 09:02:23 +1000

About this time last year there was a heat wave in Vic. where the
temperature reached 46 in Shepparton, I ventured into the Iron Bark forest
at Rushworth in the afternoon where there was now breeze at all and the
temp. was even greater.
I stood on the edge of a dam where there were hundreds of birds coming into
drink, Honeyeaters, Tree-creepers , Wrens, Yellow Robins, Pardalotes,
Thornbills, Cuckoos. Red rumps, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Grey
Currawongs, Choughs, Fantails, Trillers, Wagtails, Babblers, Wattlebirds,
Spinebills, Mistletoebirds, Sittellas Kookaburras and a pair of Leaden
Flycatchers with two young that I have never seen before in this area plus a
few more.
Several were fledglings and many had rings on their legs.
They all only had one thing on their mind and that was survival, some of the
young should not have been out of the nest as they were not fully feathered.

It was too hot to stand in the sun so I pulled the Cruiser up to the edge of
the water and sat in it with the door open the birds were so frantic to get
a drink they were landing on the open door and Wallabies would crawl under
the door when going along the edge that close I reached out and touched one
on the tail.

A Goshawk arrived causing a bit of a panic when it came over the bank but
they soon continued on drinking ignoring it as it drank and then bathed, it
sat in an Iron Bark for an hour watching me then had another drink before
flying off.

I have photos of a fox walking amongst Stilts, Pacific Herons, Spoonbills,
Ibis,  Egrets etc in broad daylight without them turning an eye or stop
feeding, as it walked through the shallow water within a couple of feet of
You see Jabiru ,Egret and Herons etc in Kakadu walk within a foot of the
snout of Crocodiles oblivious of the danger.
Birds in aviaries will land and walk all over snakes having no fear.
Do they know when they are not feeding or are they ignorant to the fact that
they are a danger ???

I have photos of the fox and the scrawny birds in the bush if anyone is

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Oto
Philip Veerman
Sent: Sunday, 4 January 2015 11:02 AM
To: ; 'Simon and Alex Starr';

Subject: Birds drinking in the heat

Also that the Goshawk is not so dangerous whilst down on the ground at a
pond where they can see it and know it is there, as it is when hidden in the
trees or flying above them when they don't know if it is there or not. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of

Sent: Sunday, 4 January 2015 10:08 AM
To: Simon and Alex Starr; 
Subject: Birds drinking in the heat

Hi Simon,
Back in late 2003 while do some fauna work at Scotia Sanctuary, I observed a
number of Honeyeater species, pardalotes, Crested Bellbird all coming down
to drink at dam. The interesting thing about this was that they also shared
this drinking spot with a Brown Goshawk and the smaller birds were often
drinking at the same time as the goshawk. 

I guess the need for water was more urgent than the potential fear of the



Yours in all things "green"

John Harris BASc, GDipEd
Director - Wildlife Experiences P/L
Principal Zoologist/Ecologist
Nature Photographer
Wildlife Guide
Croydon, Vic
0409 090 955

President, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria

----- Reply message -----
From: "Simon and Alex Starr" <>
To: "Birding Aus Mailing List" <>
Subject: Birds drinking in the heat
Date: Sat, Jan 3, 2015 19:08

Today I stopped by at a waterhole in the central Victorian scrub near
Inglewood, a site I have visited for many years, for a spot of fishing, well
actually bird fishing, sit and wait and see what you catch. It reached a
peak of 43 degrees today in the area, I was watching between 3pm and 5 pm
and had many visitors drop in, including "waves" of birds at times all lined
up in mixed species flocks. The usual array of Honeyeaters were lining up,
Brown-headed were the commonest followed by Yellow-plumed, White-eared and
Yellow-tufted. All regular birds here whether it's 43 degrees or 33 degrees.

Also present was a Black-chinned, New Holland and Eastern Spinebill, all
drinking also.  Today no Pardalotes, Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters or
White-fronted Honeyeaters but I would normally expect them to visit.

I have found that the hotter it gets the bigger range of species I see, so I
love to visit in the extreme weather as you never quite know what bird will
decide it's time for a rare drink of H2O

As I have observed in previous years when its over 40, Superb Fairy-wren
came for a drink, in fact a whole family repeatedly drank, usually they show
little interest and I only remember them sipping occasionally in the past,
today they were thirsty, as were  Silvereye, Weebill, Rufous Whistler and
Grey Shrike-thrush.  A Collared Sparrowhawk dropped in, but did not drink,
probably because of my presence, I have observed Goshawk drink here before. 

Today however I scored a couple of new species imbibing the fluid of life! A
pair of Variegated Fairy Wren were around as they usually are but I had
never seen them drink before today. And then even more surprising a single
Inland Thornbill came down to the water and spent some time there, drinking
several times.  

Birds resident in the immediate vicinity that I have never observed to drink
include Shy Heathwren, Crested Bellbird, Yellow Thornbill, and
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, however this list is gradually shrinking.

I am interested to know if there are many species that never drink even when
it's available to them in the most extreme weather. Can anyone share some
observations? Clearly there are some desert species surviving without water,

Simon Starr. 

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