An unusual day

To: "'Denis Wilson'" <>
Subject: An unusual day
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 23:33:47 +1000
Hi Denis,
I think pretty much all the finches eat insects, especially when breeding and feeding young. The Mannikins not so much, the Crimson and Star Finches a lot. The Red-brows (which are close to the Crimson and Star Finches) do too. Immelmann's book says of them "The insects are usually taken from foliage instead of caught on the wing as with the arid country species of grass finches." I had not thought of that at all in my comment that Red-browed Finches especially like joining in with Superb Fairy-wrens. I don't know how relevant that is.
-----Original Message-----
From: Denis Wilson [
Sent: Tuesday, 14 June 2011 7:18 PM
To: wallaces
Cc: COG bird discussions
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] An unusual day

Actually a MFF question, but the existing heading fits my topic too.

Further to Steve's note about active birds on a lousy day. in the middle of a heavy Robertson downpour, I observed (through  a wet window) a mixed feeding flock of Silvereyes, Superb Fairy-wrens, Red Browed Finches working their way through shrubbery seemingly looking for small insects.

Certainly they were not going down into the long grasses. The plants (mixed Natives and exotic shrubbery, including Maples (which are known to be favoured by Aphids for laying their eggs) and an early-flowered Viburnum. No "seed" bearing plants amongst these.

So the pertinent question is: Does anyone know if Red-brows are occasional insectivores?

This question has been approached, but I think, skirted around in recent discussions of MFFs. Otherwise, why are the Finches so happy to join in with Wrens and Silvereyes, on an insect-killing spree?
Or is it simply mass-hysteria amonsgst small birds, on a wet day?

Grateful advice. Pls.

Denis WIlson
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