Currawong Highway

To: <>
Subject: Currawong Highway
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 20:19:34 +1100

Jack  -  I think the annual 15 min/200 birds phenomenon still occurs in some localities.  They seem to me to be opportunistic roosters (no political  implication intended).   Their preferred roosts are in tall eucs, either street trees or in reserves.  Rather than concentrate, they seem to maintain cohesion by their ability to communicate at long range.  If anyone knows of any, I would be interested in any studies of this subject, namely (forgive the alliteration) ‘Communication and cooperation in currawong communities’.  g


From: Jack and Andrea Holland [
Sent: Friday, 14 March 2008 5:23 PM
To: Geoffrey Dabb;
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Currawong Highway


Geoffrey, very interesting, do you know where they roost?


The reason I ask is that Pied Currawongs used to pass over my place in Chapman during the mid autumn to early spring period in large numbers, sometimes up to 200 birds and often over a short say 15 minute period.  They used to fly W very noisily towards Woden/Mt Taylor in the morning shortly after or even before sunrise, and return late afternoon, usually a bit more strung out.  One time I checked and found them coming out of the former pine forest at Narrabundah Hill as it was only just getting light.


Since the fires in January 2003 this phenomenon seems to have completely gone, indeed it had already diminished significantly for a few years before that when they seemed to take a more northerly path through Rivett.


The very noticeable roost flight of the Australian King Parrot to the same pine forest/Mt Stromlo, particularly in winter, also no longer occurs.


Jack Holland  

----- Original Message -----



Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 9:24 AM

Subject: [canberrabirds] Currawong Highway


To me one of the most obvious migrations, if we’re going to use that _expression_, is of the currawongs.  Perhaps I just live on the Currawong Great Trunk Road.  Over the last few days the racket from the arrivers/transients has been deafening at the peak voice times, 0630-0730 and 1700-1830 EADST.  It is beyond me to describe the variety of sounds that they use.  Basically, there is the currawong anthem that varies from the full ‘Currawongs, Currawongs, Forever!’ down to a tentative ‘curra’ from the odd bird (probably a footballer) that can’t remember all the words.  Then there is the Slow Whistle, which ranges from a conversational nasal ‘whay’ up to the full mournful ‘whay-er-roo-er’.  One bird has been provoked into joining in with the monotonous ‘what no beer’ call more usually heard early on Spring mornings.  As that sound is very localised, apparently from the one tree, I think it is probably a local resident sending some kind of message to the arrivers/transients.   

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