RE: Red Wattle-birds

To: <>
Subject: RE: Red Wattle-birds
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2009 18:02:14 +1000
Hello Trish,
Yes you are right. On average there is little difference in abundance of the RW through the year, in Canberra. Of course some sites my have absence for a short time and then they can appear to reappear. I would say your observation of having them through winter is typical. Or it is more typical than that they be absent during winter. Here is the relevant text from the GBS Report:

Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata

Our most conspicuous honeyeater, it is noisy, bold, active and aggressive. This species being a resident and the largest and most rambunctious honeyeater, may take over a site that provides a rich food supply and exclude other species. It is among the most recorded species in the count and the breeding list. It is common all year. Over the years the monthly pattern has changed, with a reduced seasonal variation. The same happened with the Noisy Miner. For the first seven years seasonal variation was marked, with a strong autumn to winter peak and a summer minimum, then the next about eight years the extent of this seasonal pattern was reduced. Since 1995 the earlier pattern appears to be occurring again (see extra graph). When all years are combined, the monthly variation is minimal. >From July to February is stable, then from March to May the abundance rises when this species migrates, it then declines in June. During migration, groups of up to 50 may be observed. Long-term the species has had a steady increase, its abundance has more than doubled.

There are some early observations of nest building or copulation in late June or in July but most breeding records start after early August. Most records are of dependent young, rather than activities at nest. From the few records that chronicle a whole breeding event, the duration is from 10 to 12 weeks. The breeding period is long and with considerable overlap of nest period and the time that young are dependent. There may be more than one breeding pair simultaneously at many sites, there is also a strong suggestion of double nesting. Mostly activities at nest have ceased by end of December with dependent young from late September till end of February with a few observations as late as early April.

Graphs on pages: 90 and 98, Rank: 6, Breeding Rank: 3, Breeding graph on page: 106, A = 2.00051, F = 97.36%, W = 52.0, R = 74.847%, G = 2.67.

Blackbirds do not move away for the winter they just are less obvious. Their recorded abundance actually hardly changes through the year. They only sing in spring  which appears to be what you are noticing . Again here is the relevant text:

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

This is a species that is common and conspicuous. Males sing during the early mornings of spring time. At any time the species’ clanking flight and alarm calls are easily detectable. This bird is at home in gardens, either open lawn or amongst messy leaf litter, feeding on soil invertebrates and soft fruit. It has a very regular monthly pattern, though with a minimal amplitude. There is a low in February then increases to a December peak then decreases down to the February level. It is quite common to find dead adult males during the midsummer heat, though that seems unlikely to have such a dramatic impact on the total numbers. Abundance increased smoothly from Years 1 to 10 and then has only marginally declined over the last six years, though the range has been small. As the species is widespread, this is clearly a true result.

This species is unusual in that the number of observations at the nest far exceed the number of observations of dependent young. This is probably because it commonly breeds in well hidden nests in vegetation very close to houses and dependent young are not especially conspicuous for long. Breeding records consist of activities at nest over a broad period from mid August to late January and dependent young from mid September peaking in December to late February.
Graphs on page: 105, Rank: 15, Breeding Rank: 6, Breeding graph on page: 107, A = 1.73186, F = 91.96%, W = 52.0, R = 72.172%, G = 2.40.

Philip Veerman
24 Castley Circuit
Kambah  ACT  2902
02 - 62314041
-----Original Message-----
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,

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