Off topic - Ainslie fox

To: 'David Rosalky' <>, 'Canberra Birds' <>
Subject: Off topic - Ainslie fox
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 07:46:11 +0000

That is indeed a funny question. Although the aggression threshold of Magpies, Currawongs and Noisy Miners is pretty low (as birds go).  Then I again mention the time I watched a whole lot of birds react with a lot of aggression to a baseball glove lying on the ground looking very reptilian.


It could be tested a bit clumsily by constructing various models that are intermediate between dog & fox and seeing how birds react. Although I disagree that birds don’t react to dogs. Why it is interesting is that it is probably not instinctive recognition, as foxes are only recent here, dogs (as in dingoes) have been here probably long enough. Dogs are more variable than foxes and so the question could be refined as are foxes (not / ) seen as within the range of dogs. I suspect it relates to how often they see whatever animals and the context in which they see them. If foxes always look like they are hunting it might be something in that.




From: David Rosalky [
Sent: Wednesday, 20 July, 2016 3:33 PM
To: 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Off topic - Ainslie fox


Yesterday, a Red Fox was wandering around ANU campus near the European Studies Centre on Liversidge St.  What interested me was that the local birds all reacted strongly.  Magpies and Currawongs swooped the fox and Noisy Miners set up their cacophonous chorus.


What makes birds react to foxes in a very different way from dogs, I wonder?  How come they don’t see a fox as just another dog with a long tail?


David Rosalky


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