Re: Noisy Miners & Koalas

To: Peter Pfeiffer <>
Subject: Re: Noisy Miners & Koalas
From: (Kim Sterelny)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 13:08:54 +1300
>    I have a question for you. My children showed me a Koala in a
>Eucalyptus tree at the local shops
> being mobbed by Noisy Miners.  What threat is the Koala ? He's ignoring
>all the fuss and just dosing in his fork in the tree.  Are Koalas nest
>robbers and do they eat eat birds eggs and nestlings at night, ( I think
>not ),  or are the Miners carrying on like a pork chop just for the fun of
>it ?
>        The local gardner has said that the Koala has been there for 2 days and
>the N Miners have been hounding it almost continually for that time.  I do
>not think there were any nests in the tree.
>        Any thoughts ?
>Peter Pfeiffer

Dear Peter,
           I suspect noisy miners might be engaging in resource-defense
rather than nest defense. Bell miners defend resource patches, and koalas
would threaten their resources because bell miners  harvest the honeydew
produced by the lerps on eucalpyt leaves. I do not know whether noisy
miners harvest this resource but if they do (since they do, I believe
defend resources not just nests) they would rightly see koalas as a threat
to their patch.

Just a hypothesis!

Kim Sterelny
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600, Wellington
New Zealand

phone: 64/(0)4/4721-000
Fax: 64/(0)4/495-5130

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