What are the honeyeaters eating?

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Subject: What are the honeyeaters eating?
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2005 15:18:00 +1000
At the moment many honeyeaters are feeding on the main limbs of trees rather than - or as well as - in the outer foliage. Last week I watched the Kelly Rd YTHE for about 3 hours. In loose company with about a dozen Fuscous it was regularly visiting a spreading Apple Box where the birds visited and appeared to feed repeatedly at only the same 5 or 6 stations, each of these being on a bare limb. It looked as if they were probing at something, rather than pecking at ants for example. Whatever it was, it seemed to be the main attraction in the area, and possibly the reason for their presence.

I have several minutes video of a Red Wattlebird taken on another occasion, when the bird was frenziedly pecking at and licking a solid but sticky whitish exudate that had oozed from a rough-barked euc. In HANZAB, 'exudate' is mentioned as a food of some honeyeaters.

This morning I was at Mt Majura watching a pair of the numerous WE Honeyeaters doing the same thing. Just then along came Terry Gourlay on one of the long-distance traverses of the area for which he is noted. After our customary review of the Glossy situation, we discussed 'exudate' as a possibly important honeyeater food source in winter that may not have been sufficiently recognised as such.

Below are a couple of snaps of the WEH at the stuff.

               Geoffrey Dabb
email    :   
ph/fax   :   02 6295 3449


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