bedlam (briefly) at Hawker ovals

To: "'Barbara Allan'" <>, <>
Subject: bedlam (briefly) at Hawker ovals
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2012 17:33:10 +1000
Another idea is that these birds would often see dogs. However what they see is a wide range of: colours, sizes, shapes and speeds. So very likely they do not associate these, what we call dogs, as a single concept, on which to base a reaction. These things are rarely predatory. So they would not necessarily learn to be bothered by them, even if they could form a single mental concept of "dog". They would also see foxes. A fox is a fox, consistent in appearance and it always looks and behaves like a predator. That gives them something on which they can learn a response.
I also draw to attention that there does not always need to be logic. Sometimes I think we people try too hard to find logic. In December 1986 I wrote an article Canberra Bird Notes 11(4): 131. "Misidentified as dangerous" about me two years earlier observing a similar group of birds mobbing a baseball glove. I suggested that the leather and stitching on fingers probably made it look like a snake. Coincidentally on the same page is an article by Ian M (McComas) Taylor "Choughs mob fox" describing similar behaviour (sans dogs).
 -----Original Message-----From: Barbara Allan [ Sent: Friday, 20 July 2012 11:15 AM      To:
Subject: [canberrabirds] bedlam (briefly) at Hawker ovals

After the worst of the frost the corgi and I headed out on one of our regular beats around Hawker ovals. We enjoyed a few somewhat unusual sightings for the area, namely a pair of Scarlet Robins and a male Golden Whistler, saw a magpie putting the finishing touches to its nest, enjoyed watching the “regulars” and socialising with other dogs and dog-walkers. Then all hell broke loose. A fox swaggered its way up the path and was set upon by a posse of magpies, currawongs and miners. Encouraged by the bedlam, one of the dogs gave chase. The fox was last seen beating a decidedly rapid retreat up Delamere St. The thing that particularly interested me in this episode was the birds’ ability to differentiate between a fox and the domestic dogs, who were quite ignored by the angry mob. b

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