Probable juvenile Grey Butcherbird in Holt.

To: 'Canberra Birds' <>
Subject: Probable juvenile Grey Butcherbird in Holt.
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2021 02:05:30 +0000

It is clear that the species in increasing in its presence and abundance in Canberra from many years ago. The GBS Report (covering first 21 years of the GBS up to June 2002) contained evidence of the start of this trend but only in the last few years. Though it is clear from my text that I could not know (and did not predict) that this increase would continue, as it has. I described it as rare in Canberra. (As Mark also mentions). The GBS has not been reported on in any consistent manner since my Report and this change is further support for that it is overdue for a repeat.


I have the Grey Butcherbird on my GBS most weeks over the past few years, though usually just one bird and no sign of any breeding. The closest breeding I have noticed to my home is at the Colquhoun street entrance to Mt Taylor.


If the purpose of John’s comment is that early September is unusual for a juvenile. I would think yes it is very early, unless it is still young looking from last year’s breeding season. GBS data shows abundance peaks from February to May. This is probably dispersal into the suburbs from breeding in the reserve areas and high country. Or that was the situation for those years. It may have changed.





From: Canberrabirds [ On Behalf Of Mark Clayton via Canberrabirds
Sent: Monday, 6 September, 2021 3:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Canberrabirds] Probable juvenile Grey Butcherbird in Holt.


I have had at least two, and possibly three, young Grey Butcherbirds in my garden in Kaleen for more than several weeks now. I am assuming that at least one of these birds could be one of the two that frequented my yard last year with their two adult parents. I know that one was attacked by something (a currawong doing what currawongs are designed to do??) and unfortunately I couldn't catch it. The possible third bird this year is different to the two young from last year in several respects. The female from last years pair has "disappeared" and could possibly be on eggs at this time of year. Either that or the resident male has paired with a young bird. Time will tell if the female comes back with "this years" young!!

Grey Butcherbirds used to be very rare in suburbia when I was growing up in the 1960's and 70's. They were always regarded as a bird of the higher country but going  by the records on the chat line are now a regular feature in the suburbs.


On 6/09/2021 3:32 pm, John Layton via Canberrabirds wrote:

Early this afternoon I had good views (unaided vision) from 20 metres of what I could only conclude was a juvenile Grey Butcherbird. Going on what I gleaned from HANZAB its presence in Canberra during early September would be possible perhaps probable?


John Layton


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