Re: birds in inner Melbourne

Subject: Re: birds in inner Melbourne
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 09:38:26
Michael -

I think your concept of a sculpture that will be gradually consumed by
birds is an imaginative one.  However, some people on BIRDING-AUS have
already pointed out likely problems.  To these I would add:

The suggested site at a major busy street intersection will not attract any
but the most streetwise birds, such as House Sparrows, Common Mynas and
Rock Doves (street pigeons).  Overflying migrants such as Silvereyes,
honeyaters and Flame Robins are mainly insect (or fruit) eaters rather than
seed eaters.  Silver Gulls (the only probable native at your site) may be
attracted by the debris of bystanders.

The sculpture will attract rats and mice.  If it was sited elsewhere, such
as in a large open space (Princes Park?) with the public excluded from,
say, a 50 metre radius, this could bring in some native birds such as
Nankeen Kestrels, Black-shouldered Kites, Australian Magpies and Little
Ravens - and possibly Peregrines and .Hobbys to prey on pigeons and
sparrows.  At night feral cats would prey on the rats.

The underside of the sculpture may well become moist from contact with the
ground, or from rainfall, and rot.  This, with the rodent and cat urine,
will certainly give the sculpture another sensory dimension.  The adjacent
pavements would need to be hosed down or swept regularly to prevent
accumulating rat and pigeon droppings being a hazard to pedestrians.

All in all, the concept is probably not appropriate for the suggested site;
a farm paddock might be better.

Regards,  Hugo.

Hugo Phillipps,
Birds Australia Conservation & Liaison,
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.
Tel: (03) 9882 2622. Fax: (03) 9882 2677.
O/s: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677.
Email: <>
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