To: John Leonard <>
Subject: Re:
From: "Merrilyn Serong" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 23:41:13 -0700

John Leonard wrote:

> We have a Prunus sp tree in our front yard which has just finished
> flowering. Yesterday I observed a Red Wattlebird land on the pine chips
> under the tree and hop around searching out the dried blossoms which were
> lying on the ground. It ate about 20 blossoms in a minute or so, and then
> was distracted by a Gang-gang, which it had to fly off and chase
> (Wattlebirds seem to be very aggressive at this time of year, often chasing
> birds away from their territory, even though there is nothing native
> flowering in the vicinity at the moment).
> Anyway I assume that it was eating the blossoms for the sake of the residue
> of nectar which is to be found in them (the Wattlebirds had been feeding in
> the tree previously when it was flowering).
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  I have been amazed at the crazy aggressiveness of some red wattlebirds
lately.  There is one in particular
in our garden that appears to be almost suicidal.  There are two cats that many
years ago decided to make
our home their own, and the wattle bird has recently started attacking one of
them.  This poor cat, which
incidently is only allowed out during the day, will be sitting innocently (if
that is possible for a cat) in the middle
of the garden, minding its own business when suddenly out of the sky swoops the
wattle bird, right down to
touching distance. Once I saw the cat make a frightened half-hearted swipe at
the bird, but now the cat has
learned to hide under bushes when out in the garden.  Even then it is not safe
from harassment, but seems to
feel more protected.  Meanwhile the other cat is entirely ignored by the
wattlebird.  From what I know of these
two cats, the one that is being harassed is normally the more aggressive of the
two, and I think would be more
likely to try hunting than the other cat, but how did the bird know that?

Merrilyn Serong.

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