Bird baths: the regurgitation factor

To: <>
Subject: Bird baths: the regurgitation factor
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2020 09:55:11 +1100

Many years ago, my grandparents, who lived at Upwey, would occasionally put out strips of liver for the kookaburras. I remember being told (must have been about 1950) that sometimes they would cough up less desirable stuff they had eaten to enjoy the liver. I now believe this was regurgitation of undigested remains, kookaburras being one species that does this routinely.  Sometimes a bird will need to regurgitate obstructive remains to take in more food. My best example of this is a Dusky Woodswallow on a powerline, clutching a European Wasp in one foot while it ejected a large pellet of insect remains. (Photo from last June, Canberra)

A bird sitting on a branch

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This brings us of course to the Pied Currawong, the regurgitative habits of which have been discussed on more than one chatline. Messy, crumbly pellets can create a problem at backyard watering sites that the bird visits, presumably to drink, such as dogs’ water bowls, bird baths and ornamental water features. Australia’s champion regurgitator I would say (passerine division).  Indeed it might be a contender for the world title, although I believe the American Robin has a similar reputation.

There is a photo. I might just be able to fit it in under the limit if I reduce the woodswallow one.  GD

A small bird sitting on a ledge

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