To: "'Michael & Janette Lenz'" <>
Subject: currawongs
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 09:31:02 +1100

The abundance diagram in Philip’s book shows you might see 3 times as many curras in Canberra gardens June-July as Oct-Feb, the transitional periods being March-April and Aug-Sept.  The seasonal maps in the COG atlas indicate that the movement is altitudinal .  Ian Rowley’s piece in ‘Birds in the Australian High Country’ (1969) says . “ ... breeds in forest country but in the autumn and winter is nomadic forming large flocks.  This movement is largely an altitudinal shift and large flocks appear in towns on the highlands during winter”.


HANZAB says:  “In Canberra, numbers increase with influx of visitors, said to be from surrounding ranges, in mid-Mar., with maximum numbers in May-June, and most depart in Sept., after which only breeding birds remain ...”


As I think Michael has pointed out at COG meetings, the pattern might have changed somewhat.  McComas Taylor (1992) said “Until the 1960s, the outward movement was almost complete, and very few bred in Canberra [Rowley], but in recent decades they have acquired new patterns of behaviour and have learned to exploit rich food sources available during the breeding season at low altitudes ...”


I wonder if the last few years have not seen a further shift in that direction.  The density of nests in Canberra seems very high, with fairly small and virtually contiguous territories, and some double-brooding.  The success rate must also be quite high.  So what happens to the young of the year?  Do they join up with the transient flocks and summer in the hills, contributing to ever-larger flocks?  I think the theory that there are not more currawongs overall needs a close look.  The long-term line in Philip’s book is flattish but that might indicate maximum density has been reached in garden sites.  It is one of the ‘increasers’ in the second BA atlas.  g          


From: Michael & Janette Lenz [
Sent: Sunday, 16 March 2008 7:44 AM
To: chat line
Subject: [canberrabirds] currawongs


I remember being told that the overall numbers of currawongs in Canberra had NOT increased much over time, however, the birds now spent the whole year here rather than being seasonal. That means that the poor little birds have now less and less of a chance to survive the predation.  


But I have forgotten whether it was that the currawongs used to spend the summer here and over-winter in the mountains somewhere, or if it was the other way around. Can anyone tell me please?


<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU