Yellow-faced Honeyeaters from GBS Report

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Subject: Yellow-faced Honeyeaters from GBS Report
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 22:04:32 +1100
Or if you want a better story: From my GBS Report:

Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops

Probably more individuals of this species pass through the area on post-breeding migration than the number of any other species we have residing in the area. This is the most regular of our species in terms of its monthly pattern. COG has a long history of monitoring this migration (e.g. Davey 1986, Wilson 1997 and Taws 1999). The calculation of abundance value "A" relies on a weekly component. As this species is only abundant in the area for about eight weeks each year, its average ranking in that scale, through the whole year, is generally in the range of the 10th most common species. The migration peak occurs in April, extending slightly from March and into May. Through June, July and August there are always some still around and in September and October, there is a second small peak about one fifth the extent of the April peak. This is as some of the birds that survived the migration period towards the coast and northwards, return through the city towards the Brindabella range to breed. The difference between the size of the population between these two periods is interesting. Another possibility is that in the spring return period the birds may take a different route.

Interpreting numbers is difficult, for this species more than most. During migration these birds fly past in noisy flocks generally stopping to rest on tall trees and as this is well known, many people specially look out for them. Their average group size of 9.83 is the highest for any honeyeater, because they are mostly recorded as flocks passing through. Even with problems of reliably counting numbers of these birds, there are marked changes in the birds? abundance over the years. Year 1 had very high numbers, the highest by far with an April "A" value of 34.4, Year 2 (which rated high for many other migrants) numbers were very low with an April "A" value of 7.5. Probably breeding was well down that year. Years 3 to 7 were very similar, midway. Then there was a dramatic drop in Year 8 and continuing steady decline through to Year 13. That has been followed by a steady rise, to levels still below those of Years 2 to 7.

For such an abundant species that breeds in enormous numbers very close to Canberra, the paucity of GBS breeding records is notable. There were breeding records of activity at nest in mid October and mid January and dependent young in November, January and late February. One record in Year 9 at Site 32 had nest and dependent young.
Graphs on page: 98, Rank: 16, Breeding Rank: 51, A = 2.65986, F = 87.34%, W = 50.9, R = 27.052%, G = 9.83.

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