silver gull

To: Canberra Birds <>
Subject: silver gull
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 12:06:38 +1100
At my parents' house in Britian in the 1970s when I was growing up we grew strawberries. Blackbirds love strawberries, so we covered them in nets (the strawberries that is). Then we had to go up the garden every few hours to untangle Blackbirds from these nets. I remember noting at the time that some birds fought hard when we were untangling them, but others were quite passive. Were the passive ones ones who had previously been released, or are some Blackbirds more prone to trust humans than others. Or is 'trusting humans' an anthropocentric interpretation, aren't they are just using the technique of 'playing possum' until they can suddenly twist themselves out of the predator's hands (or claws) and escape?
Finally, is 'trusting humans', if this is what it is, a long-term evolutionary advantage?
John Leonard

On 2/15/06, Overs, Anthony (REPS) <> wrote:
ok, I've got a story. Some of you may have heard it before.
At my old house in Hackett I had a resident pair of Magpie Larks. The birds would forage in the yard. My wife and I couldn't really get too close to them if we went outside. They would fly off if we got even remotely close to them.
I had a mist net set up in the back yard and I was attempting to repair it, an extremely tedious exercise. I'd been there for some time when the female Magpie Lark landed some distance away from me in the yard and began to wander about feeding on bugs. After a while she flew off, but went straight into the net I was working on. I got her out of the net, and she shrieked a bit which is not unusal. I had a quick look at her and noticed that she had a wounded foot. Closer examination revelaed that she had a long piece of cotton wound around her foot many times and it was cutting in causing bleeding. My wife came out to give me a hand. She held the bird while I carefully unwound the cotton from the foot. Took probably five minutes to get it off. The whole time I was working on the foot the bird was silent. Once the foot was clear of cotton we let her go and she flew off.
Several times soon after that day the female Magpie Lark would land in the back yard and walk around me foraging. She would get so close I could have easily reached down and touched her. I reckon she recognised that I had helped her and that I wasn't a threat to her.
Yes, I'm not quite the birdo-extraordinaire that my brother is but it's good to see I have one up on him in the seagull-retrieval department!
I've put in my two-bob's worth but I'm hoping there is enough impetus for others to keep the discussion rolling along.  It would be interesting to see if anyone else has experienced a similar situation where a bird has surprised them for some reason (dive-bombing magpies and plovers not included). 
Maurits Zwankhuizen
-----Original Message-----
From: Geoffrey Dabb [mailto:m("","gdabb");" target="_blank"> ]
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:34 AM
To: m("","canberrabirds");" target="_blank">
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] silver gull

Maurits - I hope you're not seeking to close off this discussion.  It's Godzilla versus the Sceptics Society, Round 11, both looking fresh, but neither likely to land a knock-out punch at this stage.
Incidentally, the exploits of you and your brother are most entertaining, even if I sometimes do confuse you.  In the interests of removing confusion I have prepared the following, and perhaps you would be good enough to correct any errors?
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