Birding-Aus Digest, Vol 42, Issue 20

To: "" <>
Subject: Birding-Aus Digest, Vol 42, Issue 20
From: Malcolm Brown <>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:04:46 +0000
Hi Lawrie

Anything is possible. I had a 20 year mist netting project near 
Springvale/Braeside Victoria. My only bird found with a band - dead away from 
the research area was a Blackbird that had moved around 1 km. 

Their biggest movement from the ABBBS was 57 km see:

I like Blackbirds and I think they’re here to stay so we might as well get used 
to them and enjoy their company.

Malcolm Brown <> 

Message: 3
Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:21:47 +1000
From: Lawrie Conole < <>>
To:  <>
Subject: Blackbird migratory behaviour in Australia?
Message-ID: < <>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed

Hi birders

Back in 2004 on Birding-Aus I wrote this:

"... /Some musing on that feral pest the Common Blackbird (Turdus 
merula) in Victoria, Australia ..../

/A couple of observations this Autumn have me wondering whether some 
proportion of the Victorian Blackbird population might be migratory - 
even if its just the kind of altitudinal migration seen in various 
indigenous birds here. Let me elaborate .../

/At two sites I've visited in the last fortnight, I've come across 
groups of Blackbirds (about 10 birds in each case) roosting/resting in 
isolated patches of vegetation in farmland during the day. In one case 
the patch was a cluster of pines in a vast dry grassy paddock, no 
understorey - very un-Blackbird-like habitat (Craigieburn, northern 
Melbourne). The others were laid up in a mess of Spanish Heath (Erica 
lusitanica) underneath remnant Swamp Gums (Eucalyptus ovata) in farmland 
(south of Colac, northern Otway Ranges foothills). Both sites were at 
about 200m above sea level, and perhaps less than 50km from more upland 
forest (>500m ASL). In both cases they flushed in groups, and didn't 
give the characteristic Blackbird cackle that usually accompanies such 

/This seems vaguely like migrant behaviour to me. Thrushes like these 
often migrate at night in their natural range, and lay up in various 
copses of vegetation during the day. In the Craigieburn example, several 
migrant Grey Fantails were noted in an adjacent patch in the paddock./

/I'd be interested in any comments on this matter. Does anyone live in 
an upland kind of place with fluctuating Blackbird numbers which might 
suggest regular short - medium distance movements? Any other similar 
observations? The 'big picture' data presented in the New Atlas 
publication are not finely resolved enough to address this question - 
particularly if only some Blackbirds are migrating/moving/ ...".

There wasn't much of a response, and nothing to corroborate my musings. 
So until today I hadn't thought about it much since. This morning 
pre-dawn when I went outside briefly (Tylden, central Victoria, ~600m 
above sea level) there was an unusual amount of Blackbird noise - more 
than I'd expect from our apparently resident pair. Out walking with the 
dog a few hours later, around 10am, I saw what could only be Blackbirds 
migrating. Over a period of about 5 minutes, I estimated about 40 
Blackbirds passed through in a loose stream, going N/NNE (and therefore 
down in altitude) - much as you see with Yellow-faced and White-naped 
Honeyeaters when they're migrating - moving from one copse of trees to 
another, stopping briefly before heading on. In this case both males and 

So why does it matter? Just a feral pest. It has been frequently stated 
in the literature that Australian introduced populations of Blackbirds 
are all sedentary. In their native range some populations are migratory. 
Does that reflect here then that the source populations are from 
different populations in Europe with respect to migration, or are local 
environmental conditions just triggering latent migratory behaviour? I 
can't help but be interested ...

If anyone else sees anything similar this autumn, I'd love to hear from you.



   <#*dr.-lawrie-conole*>/Dr. Lawrie Conole/

Tylden 3444, Victoria

lconole[at] <>

generated by haroopad < <>>

<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Birding-Aus Digest, Vol 42, Issue 20, Malcolm Brown <=

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