are Red Wattlebirds getting smarter

To: Mark Clayton <>, 'Canberrabirds' <>
Subject: are Red Wattlebirds getting smarter
From: Jack & Andrea Holland <>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2017 23:37:11 +0000
Mark, the Red Wattlebird (RWB) is an early breeder, as evidenced by the data on its bird info page of the COG web site.  This shows nest building starting in June and both nests with eggs and with young from July.  Personal  experience is of young fledging in late July 2004, the month we returned home in Chapman after January 2003 bush fires (see write up in CBN 30, pp97-116 (2005).  This was in a still bare and devastated garden.
Having watched and published on Koels, including breeding, closely over the past few years I believe many RWBs are already on their second brood by the time Koels arrive in October, and they mainly parasitise the third RWB brood for the year as the Koel fledgling period is mainly in the second half of January and February.  This is also when many RWB fledglings are around.
As will be described in the paper I am preparing for CBN on the 2016-2017 season Koels do seem to be changing their behaviour with for example females arriving or at least being conspicuous much earlier than in the past.  Also the RWBs may be learning, in areas where there have been many fledglings in the past such as Page Barbara Allan’s close observations have revealed there have been very few in the past couple of years.
Jack Holland
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 8:51 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] are Red Wattlebirds getting smarter

Morning all,


We are still a little way off hearing from our “favourite” spring/summer visitor, the Pacific Koel,  which gives the local Red Wattlebirds such a hard time when the koel finally arrives. This morning I noticed a wattlebird disappear into a tall Melaleuca in my front garden. A quick visit to the bush showed a wattlebird sitting on a nest, obviously trying to get at least one clutch through before the koels  arrive in the neighbourhood. This nest is generally a lot earlier than I have previously noted so are the wattlebirds adapting to the time when the koels are here? It makes one wonder!


Also on nests at present are one of the local Australian Magpie groups and the local Australian Ravens have been seen carrying sticks.



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