Gatherings and phalanxes

To: "" <>
Subject: Gatherings and phalanxes
From: calyptorhynchus via Canberrabirds <>
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2022 08:47:45 +0000
Today at lunchtime I was near the Aboriginal Tent Embassy near Old Parliament House when a group of Choughs tried to cross the more open ground. They tried to do it by flying between the trees but ran into the resident magpies and Noisy miners. Some of the Choughs were chased a considerable distance by Magpies, but one unfortunate Chough was chased by a Noisy Miner who seemed to grab hold of its tail and hang on. Choughs aren't the strongest of fliers at the best of times and this Chough was wailing in alarm and struggling to maintain height with the Noisy Miner dragging it down!

John Leonard

On Wed, 6 Jul 2022 at 17:38, <> wrote:

Apropos Magpies,


We seem to have a larger number of them over the past month or so than ever before.  When we dig into a pile of woodchips we have, to spread them around the garden (in Emu Ridge, near the Belconnen town centre), it’s not unusual to be ‘invaded’ by 20 or more eager magpies, seeking we don’t know what (since there are few if any worms in the pile of woodchips).  Have others had similar?


We do also have up to 8 or 10 choughs pecking their way through our garden every couple of weeks or so, but haven’t been aware of any ‘confrontation’ between them and magpies.  The choughs seem to like to keep together as they move as a group from one garden to the next every few minutes.


Kevin Bray




From: Canberrabirds <> On Behalf Of Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Wednesday, 6 July 2022 9:46 AM
To: Canberrabirds <>
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Gatherings and phalanxes


Yesterday afternoon Fairbairn Golf Course, flocks of 67 Red-rump Parrots, 25 Eastern Rosellas, 60 plus Crested Pigeons.  Also, something seen several times before, a tight group of 12 choughs, middle of fairway, being sheep-dogged by a variable number of surrounding, generally stationary magpies. The reason for the compact chough formation seems to be that a magpie (or 2) can drive back in a stray emergent chough but cannot deal with the defensive actions of the whole chough phalanx when it stands its ground. The result is that the choughs can advance foraging, despite the resentful magpies, so long as the flock maintains its cohesion.

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John Leonard

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