The Pinnacle and odd behaviour

To: Cog line <>
Subject: The Pinnacle and odd behaviour
From: John Brannan <>
Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2007 16:29:08 +1100
I've been up to the Pinnacle area behind Hawker a couple of times since the big hailstorm to assess the damage. The southern slopes seem to have copped a the worst of it, judging by the ankle-deep leaf litter under the larger old trees. The dam in the southeast corner that was about a quarter full is now full to the brim. The day after the storm there were lots of birds around, though the number of Grey Fantails seems to have dropped markedly. (Is there any reason why GFs should be hit harder by hail?)
Robins are starting to appear - Scarlets only so far. Also Rufous and Golden Whistlers, lots of Spotted Pardalotes and Yellow- and Buff-rumped Thornbills, and the Dusky Woodswallows seem to have moved on. I found the half-eaten remains of what was probably a Collared Sparrowhawk, though it hard to be sure with only the wings, tail and legs to go on. Other recent highlights were a Tawny Frogmouth and a Hobby.

Also, I've observed a couple of off bird behaviours in the last couple of months. The first is apparent food sharing between a pair of young Kookaburras. The two were sitting in a tree making begging noises (one of the adults was sitting in another tree about 30 meters away) and one of them had a large insect in its beak. It appeared to offer the insect to its sibling, who looked at it and apparently decided against it (perhaps it wasn't dead enough?). A minute or so later, the insect was offered again, and this time the other sibling happily gobbled it down. Now I've never seen young birds operate on anything other than a "first-in best-dressed" basis when it comes to food, so I was struck by this behaviour. Is this normal among L. Kookaburras?

The other odd behaviour was a young A Magpie lying on its side in a patch of dirt, happily pecking away at a tuft of grass it was holding in one foot. Again, I've never seen a Magpie (or any bird for that matter) lie down on its side - legs in the air - for any reason. How common is this?

John Brannan
36 Challinor Cres., Florey, Canberra ACT 2615, Australia
Ph.: (+612) 6258 6038	Fax: (+612) 6258 6238
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