Re: birding-aus 'morph' versus 'phase'

Subject: Re: birding-aus 'morph' versus 'phase'
From: (Syd Curtis)
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 20:53:48 +1000
Brian Everingham wrote:

>Thanks for keeping me honest Lawrie. No offence in regards this one... I
>think the term phase has stuck in my mind all these years because my first
>bird identification books all used the term.
>Brian E
 I'm with Brian on this.  I grew up on a farm on Tamborine Mountain (70 km
south of Brisbane).  Grey Goshawks nested most years in our patch of
rainforest.  We had both the grey and the white phases.  If the term morph
had been invented then we cerainly never heard of it.  Caley (1931) and
Leach (1923) were our only bird books.  Both refer to the white "form",
though Dr Leach incorrectly calls it an albino form.

  Sadly, sometimes an individual goshawk would decide that raiding our
fowl-yard was much easier than catching bush birds.  Then it had to be
destroyed.  (This was immediate post-depression remember, and we needed our
chooks for our own survival.  We ate a lot of bandicoot, but Dad would
never shoot a pigeon or a scub turkey even when the turkeys were digging up
and eating his sweet potatoes.)  One hawk that he shot was a white (OK,
Lawrie) morph.  What a beautiful bird it was.  I know my parents both
regretted having to kill it.

But you will perhaps better appreciate the necessity when I tell you that
on several occasions there was the whistle of a goshawk followed
immediately by the scream of a chicken in distress.  My mother raced out to
do battle with the hawk, only to find the hens all out in the open, quite
unconcerned, and no sign of a hawk.  After a couple of episodes Mother
solved the puzzle: a Satin Bowerbird indulging in a bit of mimicry!  Very
good mimicry too.  But he wouldn't have picked that up from just a single
event.  So you can see we did have a problem.



H Syd Curtis

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Re: birding-aus 'morph' versus 'phase', Syd Curtis <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU