birds' reactions to raptors

Subject: birds' reactions to raptors
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 15:59:16 +1000

A couple of thoughts in response to John Leonard's posting:

I remember a few years ago seeing a Tasmanian Masked Owl come out of its
hollow in the middle of the day.  As soon as it did, all the local birds
started harassing it.  Noisy Miners were at the forefront.  How did the
birds instinctively know that an owl was something to be feared?  You could
put it down to the bird being present there the whole time, but even if
they had seen it before I'd be surprised if they had ever seen it hunting.
It is not as if the shape of a Masked Owl bears any similarity with

To take this one step further, why do small birds harass Wedge tailed
Eagles when a Raven may well be a greater threat to them, and they don't
seem to be nearly as concerned with Ravens?  Or is that a generalisation
not supported by the evidence?

And finally a friend of mine has a pet Rainbow Lorikeet that has been
almost hand raised.  Yet it panics when a raptor flies past.  Would anyone
like to guess how it would react to an owl?

Murray Lord

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