Hobbies and willy wagtails

Subject: Hobbies and willy wagtails
From: "Merrilyn Serong" <>
Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999 16:48:50 +1100
Having watched a pair of hobbies at the nest (previously a raven's nest)
for nearly three months, it is a real thrill to see three young birds
now out of the nest and flying with their parents.  They soar around,
with the young ones calling frequently, then stop for a while, perching
on a bare tree, before they are off again.

Feathers and bird remains in the area appear to be mostly from noisy
miners. I have seen the hobbies with their prey in a tree, madly pulling
off feathers which float away in great clouds, but I have not actually
seen them catch anything yet.
The hobbies are often harassed by noisy minors and wattle birds.  It
must be a hard life having to eat living food that tries to escape or
fight back and comes to annoy you when you are just 'innocently' sitting
in a tree.

Willy wagtails have been breeding nearby with three young having left
the nest on 28 Dec.  The wagtails seem to have taken little notice of
the hobbies until yesterday, when I heard a great commotion and lots of
angry willy wagtail noises.  On looking up I saw two willy wagtails
repeatedly pecking an adult hobby which was perched in a bare tree.
They took it in turns to attack the hobby on the back, until eventually
it flew off with the wagtails in pursuit.  There was no sign of the
young willy wagtails.  Were they eaten by the hobbies, or could they
have dispersed already? There were no telltale remains in sight.

Incidentally, the ravens that used to frequent the area and use the nest
have become somewhat peripheral since the hobbies moved in.


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