No doubt I will get shouted down but I think it is a mistake to equate
Australian bird behaviour with that of northern hemisphere birds. We
don't have the long cold dark winters and short days that either force
many birds to migrate south (with all the risks) or see the winter out
and likely run short of food and starve or freeze to death.
My London son feeds birds in his garden throughout the year, as my
family did when I was young. They desparately need this in winter when
the ground is frozen hard or covered in snow and days dark and short.
There are now more birds in the middle of British cities than in many
parts of the countryside where modern farming methods have reduced
habitat, spread herbicides and pesticides, and cleaned up what were once
scrubby patches in which the birds bred and foraged.
Our birds function according to our weather which is (to be it mildly)
unreliable - often extremely wet or extremely dry - and they are
accordingly opportunistic breeders. I have at the end of my garden
currently a pair of Torresian Crows and a pair of Magpie Larks - both
have just seen off their first season's nestlings, started end October,
and the crows are now re-building their old nest and the Pee Wees
already incubating in their old nest. The local Red Wattlebirds are
also into their second breeding sessions.
A question I have on the Pee Wees is - they fledged 4 nestlings, No. 1
and 2 on one day, no. 3 next day and no. 4 on the third day. I observbed
them usually close together in trees at the end of my garden for 3 days,
and then they were not seen again and the parents were next rearranging
the nest. Had these fledglings been eaten by the crows' two active and
just weaned youngsters or other predators, or had they already been left
by their parents to look after themselves? (unlikely according to
Hanzab.) During this time the young crows and some kookaburras were
being harassed constantly by Willie Wagtails, Figbirds, the Pee Wees and
Red Wattlebirds, all breeding in the same patch of trees ? These two
immature crows have now also vanished, I think driven off by their
parents as I saw some rather nasty interactions between the adults and
Always fascinating to watch what goes on in a small patch, lots of
Happy birding over Christmas and New Year to all,
and weren't the Aleutian Terns great! - Farquahar Inlet, near Old Bar on
NSW Mid North-Coast for those who maybe haven't yet heard about them.
n 19/12/2017 3:31 PM, Martin Butterfield wrote:
> Taking Sonja's point a step further, another possibility is that a lot of
> birds die over Winter.
> When I lived in the Eastern US someone authoritative expressed this in the
> following terms (not rigorous but I think the concept works) :
> 1. At the start of a breeding season there are x birds in the US.
> 2. Each pair of them rears on average 2 young (which is another 'x').
> 3. Thus at the end of Summer there are 2x birds.
> 4. However by the start of the next breeding season there are only x
> birds again.
> 5. Why isn't the US knee-deep in dead birds?
> The answer offered to the final question is that a lot of them don't make
> it across the Gulf of Mexico! The timing of point 3 in Australia would be
> April-May and the timing of point 4 is pretty much September-October.
> Martin Butterfield
> On 19 December 2017 at 15:15, Sonja Ross <> wrote:
>> Hi Don,
>> One reason in Victoria is that September and October tend to be our
>> wettest months so birders may possibly spend less time out birding. It
>> could also be that if the birds are breeding in our spring, at least for
>> part of the time, one of a pair could be sitting one eggs.
>> Another could be that April is often Easter when people are often out
>> camping and birding. Successful breeding would also show up in increased
>> numbers then before winter.
>> On 19 December 2017 at 13:38, Donald G. Kimball <>
>>> Sorry Martin but are you suggesting there should be more parrot sightings
>>> in Sept/Oct? I thought there were more records and birds present in
>>> April/May. Perhaps I need to scrutinize my findings more. Thanks for
>>> imput mate!
>>> On Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 1:37 PM, Martin Butterfield <
>>>> Are you adjusting for the total number of checklists submitted? If
>>>> are more lists in Apr/May than Sep/Oct one would expect more records of
>>>> Martin Butterfield
>>>> On 19 December 2017 at 07:42, Donald G. Kimball <>
>>>>> I use E-bird a good deal like many I suspect. I have noticed a
>>> pattern in
>>>>> parrot data. I looked at aproximately 30 species of parrots in NSW,
>>>>> NT and noticed that there are more recordings/sightings for most
>>>>> April/May as opposed to Sept/Oct.
>>>>> I have my own ideas as to why this is so but would love some input from
>>>>> local Aussies.
>>>>> Thanks very much!
>>>>> Don Kimball
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