For some reason, the Audubon bird caller
and, indeed, ‘pishing’ seems to work a lot better on northern
hemisphere birds, especially warblers. Aussie birds don’t seem to
be so easily fooled. I have found that this technique invariably drives
birds away, rather than attracts them (in Australia).
From: John Layton
Sent: Saturday, 15 July 2006 9:23
Cc: John Byrne
Subject: [canberrabirds] Audubon
bird (?) caller
A couple of birthdays ago, one of the brats presented me with an
Audubon bird caller. It's a little birch-wood cylindrical thing, 30 mm long.
The open end is fitted with a pewter 'piston' which, when twisted, emits lots
of twitterings, sqeakings etc which are supposed attract birds. But no. The
dopey, feathered philistines are largely unresponsive to my virtuoso
Save for one time, last spring at ANBG, when I brought my Audubon
bird caller into play before an audience of Brown Thornbills. They reacted by
flitting about within a metre of my head. Subsequently, however, I noticed I
was near their nest site. So perhaps my intrusion, rather than my Audubon bird
caller, caused their angst.
Does anyone out there use the Audubon bird caller? Or has acquisitive
brat been sold a pig-in-a-poke? I've tried thinking of an avian
equivalent to pig-in-a-poke sans success. Should I revert to oral 'pishing and
twishing' ? One needs to be careful when pronouncing that in front of
smart-Alec/Alexandra non-birders because they may react with ribald
I recently acquired an old duck-caller that resembles a sawn-off
wooden megaphone. If you blow really hard, it produces a loud QUACK! We took it
to the Fyshwick sewage ponds and, after a lot of experimental huffing and
puffing, Samantha transmitted a glissando of creditable quacks
that reverberated across the tranquil, turbid waters but, other than
sending a raft of some 50 Eurasian Coot into frenzied retreat, nothing
happened. A few (apparently hearing-impaired) ducks treated us with
ignore. Dear brat needs more duck trumpet practice.