FW: May be of interest

To: Philip Veerman <>
Subject: FW: May be of interest
From: "David McDonald (personal)" <>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2019 04:02:14 +0000
A journal article on the topic:
Bonta, M, Gosford, R, Eussen, D, Ferguson, N, Loveless, E & Witwer, M 2017, 'Intentional fire-spreading by “firehawk” raptors in Northern Australia', Journal of Ethnobiology, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 700-18.
We document Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and non-Indigenous observations of intentional fire-spreading by the fire-foraging raptors Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) in tropical Australian savannas. Observers report both solo and cooperative attempts, often successful, to spread wildfires intentionally via single-occasion or repeated transport of burning sticks in talons or beaks. This behavior, often represented in sacred ceremonies, is widely known to local people in the Northern Territory, where we carried out ethno-ornithological research from 2011 to 2017; it was also reported to us from Western Australia and Queensland. Though Aboriginal rangers and others who deal with bushfires take into account the risks posed by raptors that cause controlled burns to jump across firebreaks, official skepticism about the reality of avian fire-spreading hampers effective planning for landscape management and restoration. Via ethno-ornithological workshops and controlled field experiments with land managers, our collaborative research aims to situate fire-spreading as an important factor in fire management and fire ecology. In a broader sense, better understanding of avian fire-spreading, both in Australia and, potentially, elsewhere, can contribute to theories about the evolution of tropical savannas and the origins of human fire use.

Cheers - David

On 2019-02-15 13:52, Philip Veerman wrote:

The trailers on ABC TV for this series show a Black Kite picking up a burning stick, presumably to carry it and spread the fire. So I am interested to see that. This is something stated to have long been claimed by aboriginal people and long been not believed or considered with scepticism. Australian Birdlife 7(1):32-35 March 2018, discussed this but I don’t know of any film evidence of this before.




From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Friday, 15 February, 2019 1:23 PM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] FW: May be of interest


Yes Kym, of course I remember Charles.  A creative photographer.  Several on this list will know him.   Some great footage in that series.  However Barry Humphries’ hypnotic voice deserves a better script.     g



From: kym bradley <>
Sent: Friday, 15 February 2019 11:59 AM
To: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] FW: May be of interest


forgot again


magical land of oz on the ABC for charles


From: kym bradley <>
Sent: Friday, 15 February 2019 11:58 AM
To: Geoffrey Dabb
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] FW: May be of interest




Another thing I forgot to mention


You would remember Charles Davis young chap lives on a property near Cooma


For the last couple of years I’ve been branching out into natural history films, the first of which starts this Sunday 7.40pm on ABC. My little part that I spent the most time on is in episode 3. Big shout out to @benjamin_cunningham_dop who unlike me actually knows how to use a cine camera.



From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Sent: Friday, 15 February 2019 11:49 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] FW: May be of interest


Thanks Kym.  Yes, this was on the morning ABC tv.  I am struck by the line ‘the Indian miner has reacted with anger …’ .   Gives a whole new meaning to ‘Myna Rage’.  Below a little experiment with Microsoft Publisher



From: kym bradley <>
Sent: Friday, 15 February 2019 11:27 AM
To: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Subject: May be of interest


Hi G


If you wish to share it with the chatline feel free they take no notice of what I post


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An endangered bird could derail Adani's controversial new coal mine in Queensland after a review found its ...



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