Range of Weebill

To: "Martin Butterfield" <>, "martin cachard" <>
Subject: Range of Weebill
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:24:15 +1000
The maturation of vegetation is a sensible explanation as to why Grey Butcherbirds have increased in some suburbs. On the North Coast Pied Butcherbirds are abundant in open areas whereas Grey Butcherbirds are usually in forests or woodlands with some incursions into open area (grasslands, pastures etc.). It makes sense to me that the Martin's have clinched it.


Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
Organiser, Gould League Bird Study Camp Club,
| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
| 02 6649 3153 | 0429 601 960

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which I
live and work – the Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung peoples – and to pay
respect to their elders both past and present

-----Original Message----- From: Martin Butterfield
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 8:47 AM
To: martin cachard
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Range of Weebill

For the Canberra area there is nice data available from the COG Garden Bird
Survey (GBS) to show the time series of abundance of birds.  For those not
familiar with the GBS - now in its 37th year - one of the key statistics is
Abundance (A) which is the average number of birds reported per active site
week.  For Grey Butcherbird it shows a dramatic increase starting from 2005.

I had in the past attributed the increase to the 2003 fires in the
Brindabellas ​forcing the birds down to the urban area but in fact the
increase appears to start in 1999.  Possibly the rate of increase is
boosted by the fires (and a few rural sites coming into the GBS from 2004

What actually started the increase is a bit of a puzzle, but I suspect
Martin (excellent name, that) Cachard is close to the money in suggesting
the maturation of suburbs: in the case of Canberra this could be the
suburbs in the townships of Belconnen and Northern Tuggeranong developed in
the 1970s and 80s.  I'll try and look at some detail on this later today.

Martin Butterfield

Martin Butterfield

On 16 April 2018 at 06:26, martin cachard <> wrote:

perhaps the increase in butcherbirds around the suburbs of Melbourne in
the last few decades is because there is now more suitable habitat and
available food.

whenever I've visited Melb to see old friends & family, particularly
around the eastern burbs of Blackburn, Box Hill, the Waverley's, and the
Bayside areas, I have noticed some nice changes in the local native
birdlife there...

because I've lived up here in gorgeous FNQ since 1996, and these Melb
locales were my old stomping grounds from when I was a boy and a MUCH
younger man, these changes are not only a pleasant surprise, but they are
also rather obvious to me as I'm not visiting them very often...

in general, there are a lot more smaller birds around, like Brown
Thornbills, White-browed Scrub-wrens, Superb Fairy-wrens etc, in people's
residential gardens in these burbs. I hear butcherbirds calling in the dawn
chorus in pretty much every suburb I overnight in when visiting, much more
so than in the 70's to early 90's.

as suburbs like these develop and mature, so does the vegetation that is
within them as well - it seems to me that a nice mosaic of vegetation types
has thus been created, and with enough shrubbery and other cover to 'bring
back' such smaller songbirds as these, and of course, this supports more
families of butcherbirds.

the increasing controls on domestic cats has no doubt helped a great deal
as well.

and of course, this note of mine is a very general, and possibly a
slightly romanticised, view of things, but I reckon that this helps to
explain the butcherbirds increasing, especially in the greater eastern
suburbs where I am from, and have been visiting in the last 22 years too...

cheers for now,

martin cachard

writing to you now from a VERY NON-cyclone ravaged FNQ...

From: Birding-Aus <> on behalf of
Peter Shute <>
Sent: Monday, 16 April 2018 5:07 AM
To: Mike Carter
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Range of Weebill

What's the reason for the increase in butcherbirds? People feeding them?

Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

> On 15 Apr 2018, at 8:34 pm, Mike Carter <> wrote:
> Hi Patrick, Buff-rumped Thornbill is even more unlikely; that 2006
publication that I mentioned lists that species as extinct on the
Peninsula. Yellow-rumped Thornbill is a possibility but is distinctive so
unlikely to be confused and has a patchy distribution. White-browed
Scrubwren has a prominent white eye and would be plundered by Grey
Butcherbirds which have become more common in built-up areas in the last
three decades.

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