birding-aus Raptor Courtshrip

To: Judy Caughley <>, "" <>
Subject: birding-aus Raptor Courtshrip
From: morris <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 19:04:41 +1000
Hi Judy and other birders,
It does appear that no one has answered your comments about the apparent
early courtship of birds such as Black-shouldered Kites although some
one commented about early nesting by some passerines in Victoria..
The fact of the matter is that Australian birds, unlike their cousins in
the northern hemisphere, do not necessarily breed in the spring!
Black-shouldered kites for one, are a species that nest in autumn and
winter, because they feed on small rodents whose numbers are often at
greatest densities at this time! Similarly White-breasted Sea-eagles,
Wedge-tailed Eagles and Powerful Owls, some large predators to name just
a few, undertake courtship in autumn with eggs being laid in May & June
because they have a long breeding season and their young will be ready
to leave the nest and have the greatest demand for food when other small
birds and animals are leaving home too in spring! In addition quite a
number of passerines breed in both autumn and spring to take advantage
of food availablity. On the coastal heaths of NSW White-cheeked
Honeyaters, New Holland Honeyeaters and Little Wattlebirds nest in
autumn when the Banksia ericifolia is at flowering peak! A number of
finches nest in autumn when the available of seeds from native grasses
reaches its peak. Many birds of the tropics breed either before or after
the wet, not in spring! And finally, the day after the winter soltice,
it appears to me that Spotted Pardalotes, Brown Thornbills and
White-brown Scrub-wrens commence nesting, no waiting for spring by them!
No wonder the Fantail Cuckoo is so vocal in setting up territories in
May & June, its getting ready for 23 June so as to be ready for those
Thornbills and scrub-wrens!

Alan Morris

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