mimicry on my mind

To: "'Terry Bell'" <>, "'chatline canberrabirds'" <>
Subject: mimicry on my mind
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 13:44:04 +1000
Hello Terry,
Generally field guides don't mention a lot of interesting stuff about bird behaviour, because it is outside of the role of the book. I am surprised to find, as you tell us, that Pizzey's book does not mention vocal mimicry by bowerbirds. Maybe because the page is already full of text without it. It would seem an obvious thing that should go in. I don't believe he could not have known. I guess just an oversight. Pizzey's book does mention vocal mimicry by the Olive-backed Oriole and both lyrebirds. I can say that the mention in books of vocal mimicry by the Regent Honeyeater is directly from my research and input (indeed I was sitting with Ken Simpson researching this when he was typing text for his next update and asked me if I had any ideas to add and that is how this got in his book). As for the non mention of vocal mimicry by brown thornbills, that is hardly surprising, as that is not at all conspicuous, well known or commonly used.
 -----Original Message-----
From: Terry Bell [
Sent: Wednesday, 25 July 2012 5:12 AM
To: chatline canberrabirds
Subject: [canberrabirds] mimicry on my mind

whilst playing bowls at Canberra North BC with a naturalist friend at Turner yesterday afternoon we clearly heard the loud calls  of about half of the normal routine of a kookaburra. My first impressions were that as it was coming from a known habitat of bower birds could that bird be responsible. Remembering our recent interesting COG  talk about the mimicry of brown thornbills I checked with my new Pizzey field guide to discover that there is no mention of mimicry habits. Similarly there is no reference to this habit by bower birds but somewhere in the back of my mind I can recall of someone mentioning that this could be the case.  Perhaps some learned colleague could expand on this subject, on the chatline of course, for general information. Good birding Terry B.
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