RE: Red Wattle-birds

To: <>
Subject: RE: Red Wattle-birds
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2009 13:16:28 +1000

Gday Trish  -  good question.  I think it will bring a helpful graph from Martin and a summary on local occurrence from Philip.  It is one of several species where any reference to movement brings forth dissenting comments about exceptions  -  or has a loose generalisation been put forward as a rule?


First, HANZAB  -  a dump of published information up to cutoff date, in this case roughly 1999  -  says of ‘Movements’:  ‘apparently complex and incompletely known’.  Also:  ‘[Reported] movements poorly understood, and few clear patterns emerge’.


In Canberra, two well-known factors are often at work, sometimes together, and probably are here:  (1)  movement out of the ranges (a stronghold of this species) in Autumn and back in Spring, and (2) movement between suburban gardens and woodlands according to breeding patterns and food supply.  The COG atlas says they are ‘forced out the ACT to their winter quarters’, but also that ‘many overwinter in suburban gardens and low-altitude woodland below 700m’.  (I have a complaint about ‘overwinter’, if it suggests birds seen are permanent residents; they might be movers from elsewhere.)


In any case the short answer to your question is that the species can be found here year-round, although in smaller number numbers and less conspicuous in Winter.  One can only assume that people who report a ‘return’ live in areas where – unlike yours and mine – they are not present in Winter.  You will find this happens quite a lot with various species.


I don’t feel up to doing blackbirds.  It might depend on the pie season.  That reminds me to add a point about skylarks.  Recent experience confirms my view that in general they tolerate a much less close approach than pipits.  I wonder if this is a legacy of years of being hunted for ‘Larks’-tongue Pie’ in their ancestral lands.


From: Trish Munro [
Sent: Sunday, 16 August 2009 12:08 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] RE: Red Wattle-birds


Hi all,
As a new COG member and with this being my first time I have written on the chat-line, I am bravely asking a question!
RE: Red wattle-birds
I think I read earlier this week on the chat-line, that red wattlebirds are back but I have had red wattlebird(s) around my house throughout winter.
Is this unusual?
Also, blackbirds depart for winter and return when Spring arrives, don't they?
When are they likley to return? I love their sound.
Enjoying the chat-line and learning lots,


Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2009 10:30:50 +1000
Subject: Eastern spinebill

Saw 2 Eastern Spinebills in the plum blossom this am in my garden - Kaleen.  Not seen them here before. Also 2 Red Wattlebirds chasing each other around.




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