To: Philip Veerman <>
Subject: Fairywrens
From: Anne Brophy <>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 16:05:16 +1000
Hello Michael,

Just a thought, but Holly Parsons  from Birdlife 
Australia’s ‘Birds in Backyards’ and ‘Powerful Owl Project’ did her PhD on 
Superb Fairywrens, perhaps she might have some insights?


> On 25 Aug 2021, at 15:45, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
> Hi Michael,
> I just asked what I thought is an obvious question, as it seems a strange 
> occurrence and interpretation. You have now added some other information 
> "They were not otherwise interacting with one another". I have occasionally 
> seen a small group of Superb Fairy-wrens involved in a vigorous fight among 
> themselves. One event I recall worth mentioning was only about 5 birds. I was 
> about 40 metres away and well hidden from them and no other people nearby. So 
> you ask "What were you thinking that they might otherwise be doing?" My 
> answer would only be that, just from what you first wrote, that they were 
> fighting among themselves. I don't know why you would be that important to 
> them. But I was not there. 
> Philip
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Hunter  
> Sent: Wednesday, 25 August, 2021 1:36 PM
> To: Philip Veerman
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Fairywrens
> Hi Philip
> The mob approached me when I entered their presumed territory, all facing me, 
> followed me as I walked. I counted 50 at least although counting was 
> difficult, they were constantly moving within the group, and calling. Always 
> facing me, retreated and advanced as I did, absolutely no doubt that I was 
> the focus of their ire. They were not otherwise interacting with one another.
> Possible that they had gathered into a confined (~ 2 m) group before I came, 
> but why would they do that.
> Have seen many many and all of Aus and some PNG f wrens, never in such 
> numbers or grouped together as these were.
>  What were you thinking that they might otherwise be doing?
>        Best Michael
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 25 Aug 2021, at 11:33 am, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
>> That is curious. Why do you perceive that the focus was on you, rather than 
>> each other?
>> Philip
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of 
>> Michael Hunter
>> Sent: Tuesday, 24 August, 2021 9:36 PM
>> To: Geoff Shannon
>> Cc: 
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Fairywrens
>> Interesting Geoff. Sounds very similar.
>> Once in the desert near Well 35 I was “attacked” by a group of over fifty 
>> Variegated FWrens all in a big 2 m ball like group, about  3m away, two 
>> males, the whole group “screaming” at me to go away, backing off only as 
>> much as I advanced , but kept calling until I left their territory about 10 
>> - 15 min later.  Initially I really thought that they would physically 
>> attack me. This would have been in about August/September. No visible nests, 
>> open shrub land. No open water within km .The only sighting of wrens during 
>> a 2 to 3hr walk.
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> On 24 Aug 2021, at 8:40 pm, Geoff Shannon <> wrote:
>>> Here in NW Tasmania I have several times come across large groups (mid 
>>> teens to about 50)only to find they go back to usual family groups. These 
>>> large groups occur in winter but do not appear to be stable big flocks. Not 
>>> sure what this means. Not just in outer suberbs but also in country, but 
>>> not everywhere. Over ten years on 2 hectares whre there were upto 7 groups 
>>> never saw amalgamation of groups. So cannot explain.
>>>     Interesting to hear same happening elsewhere.
>>>     Thanks for your comments Geoff Shannon . NW ( now northern) Tasmania 
>>>>> On 24 Aug 2021, at 13:46, Michael Hunter <> 
>>>>> wrote:
>>>> Hi all.
>>>> Here in Mulgoa Valley we have had an irruption of Superb Fairy Wrens over 
>>>> the last few weeks, Almost all “brown birds”, one male in eclipse plumage, 
>>>> one in full breeding garb.
>>>> I watched two  brown birds in what looked like mortal combat, the victim 
>>>> spread eagled
>>>> under the attacker who would not let go. Three other bbs flew to the 
>>>> rescue, jumped on the attacker then all flew off.
>>>> They are very engaging little birds, popping in and out of our pot plant 
>>>> collection, coming up to our feet if we sit still enough.
>>>> Almost overnight their numbers dropped from maybe thirty around the house 
>>>> for over a week to five or six, including an eclipse make and two young 
>>>> dark tailed males.  Where did they go?
>>>>     Best
>>>>        Michael
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