An exceptional Noisy Miner story

To: "chat line" <>
Subject: An exceptional Noisy Miner story
From: "Michael and Janette Lenz" <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2010 17:51:47 +1000

In response to rain and mild temperatures, or simply out of season? ? a Noisy Miner story


Earlier this month I posted 2 messages: one on dy and one on nesting by Noisy Miners on the ANU campus in mid April. This week I walked through the ANU in search of more evidence of Noisy Miner breeding. Together with the earlier 2 cases I encountered 10 groups of Noisy Miners (although I am not claiming to have spotted all of them). All 10 had young: 5 x 1 dy; 1 x 2 dy; 1 x 3 dy; 1 Nest, 1 juv; 1  Nest, 2 juv. The single young in the nest will certainly only fledge in early May: it still had some down on its back.


Since then, I have done a couple of spot checks of Noisy Miner groups elsewhere (3 sites in Ainslie, 1 in Ngunnawal), albeit under time constraints or less ideal weather conditions (this morning), and found no evidence of nesting, i.e. no begging young or adults carrying food; unfortunately I am currently not able to continue checking. However, it would be great if other observers could check Noisy Miner sites known to them for signs of breeding activity or lack of it (in this case negative observations are equally valuable), so that we can get a more comprehensive picture of  how this species has responded in our region to recent climate events. I would be very happy to have positive or negative obs. emailed to me (this, of course, does not exclude that observers also report any late breeding event to the COG data base).


For background: Frith & Watts (Birds in the Australian High Country (1984) give Sep to Dec as the breeding season in our area, although elsewhere it stretches from Jun to Jan.  Veerman (2003) in the GBS report for the first 21 years gives the presence of dy in Canberra from the last week of September to January, with 1 obs. in April.


Overall this makes the ANU story quite exceptional.


Now also a couple of other obs. indicating how our birds view the current environment:

1 loudly and persistently singing Yellow Robin ANBG 20 April

1 pair of Galahs copulating ANU 22 April


And coming back to Benj Whitworth?s earlier thoughtful comments re. season vs climate for viewing the (current) breeding events in our area, Henry Nix  (1976)  examined environmental control of breeding in Australia (Proc. Int. Ornithol. Congr. 16), and he certainly found quite close seasonality in breeding for our area. But no doubt the boundaries are fluid, and may becoming more so. At this stage it is probably best to get as many breeding records for any species at any time of year, so that in due course we should be able to tell what is going on.


Michael Lenz

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