Eastern Spinebills

To: "'Tonya Haff'" <>
Subject: Eastern Spinebills
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 00:26:16 +1100
Hi Tonya,
Nesting at ANBG is a quite different thing from them nesting in people's gardens in the suburbs. ANBG is a very large area of great habitat, so I'd suggest that is hardly unusual there. That is different from suburban gardens. Both Martin and I were referring to GBS data, which as far as I know has never included ANBG (though some sites have included ANU). I will admit that is not exactly what Chris' original question was asking. That just asked about Canberra, not GBS. 
Even so, neither Martin or I suggested it was a "rarity". Another example of misunderstanding of perception words - the point I was making.
-----Original Message-----
From: Tonya Haff [
Sent: Wednesday, 22 December 2010 10:17 PM
To: Philip Veerman
Cc: martin butterfield; Christine Ledger;
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Eastern Spinebills

I had no idea that spinebills nesting was a rarity, as they're common in the ANBG throughout the year; I've found 3 nests this year there (last one with chicks a couple months ago; I could check my records if it's of interest).  Should have followed them more closely!



On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 1:42 PM, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
The following extract is from the GBS Report (and not inconsistent with Martin's comment). If you have two years of actual nesting at the same site, that is as Martin says, rather important. With breeding rank 29 after the first 21 years (then slipped down slightly to 31) in the 2nd edition BOCG, covering 27 years. That is mid range and so the comment about "not very common" is equally true to give as "not uncommon". But then again, these expressions can mean exactly the same thing. After all what does "not very common" and "not uncommon"  actually mean to you or me, the meanings vary according to our expectations. This is NOT a critique of Martin's use of words, any more than mine. They are just perceptions.......
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris


Breeding records fit neatly into two groups, from late August to late September the only breeding information is activities at nest, nest building and copulation. Dependent young have been noted from late October to as late as early May. There are no complete nesting events described.
Graphs on page: 100, Rank: 18, Breeding Rank: 29, A = 0.56115, F = 88.47%, W = 51.5, R = 33.747%, G = 1.66.



-----Original Message-----
From: martin butterfield [
Sent: Wednesday, 22 December 2010 9:20 AM
To: Christine Ledger
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Eastern Spinebills


As far as the Garden Bird Survey is concerned the answer is "not very common".  As shown in the attached file (which I restricted to Canberra and Queanbeyan) there have been a few records of dependent young (DY) or Fledglings (F) but no 'hard' breeding records which I define as Nest with eggs or nest with young.   The most recent Annual Bird Report had no breeding records for the species.  Thus your records are rather important.


On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 8:37 AM, Christine Ledger <> wrote:
We have Eastern Spinebills nesting in our garden for the second year running. How unusual is it for them to stay in Canberra to breed?


Tonya Haff
PhD candidate
Evolution, Ecology and Genetics
Research School of Biology
Australian National University
Lab: +61-2-6125-5651

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