Re: birding-aus Butcherbirds & nest predation references

Subject: Re: birding-aus Butcherbirds & nest predation references
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 11:28:08 +1000
At 09:46 27/09/1999 +0000, you wrote:
>Hi all
>can someone point me in the direction of any literature 
>referring to direct observations of nest predation by butcherbirds. 
>And / or, does anyone have any personal observations of butcherbirds 
>taking eggs or nestlings? Thanks to all who can offer anything on 
>this gruesome topic.
>Cheerful birding

Some years ago a pretty, young (female) arts student came to me at uni
with a v. young Masked Lapwing chick, only a couple of days old. She
has found it near the students union, apparently abandoned and making
plaintive "cheep, cheeps".

I told her the best course in these types of situations was to return
it to the probable site of the nest and hope that the parents would 
look after it. We took it back to the SU, the chick calling plaintively
all the time and, as we approached the buildings, the adults started
alarm calling in response to the "cheeps".  I told her that all would
be well as the adults would now look after the chick. [I was fairly 
sure that they had been breeding on the flat roof of the building]. 

We carefully put it down next to the path and then stood back to watch
the happy reunion  ........ when suddenly a Grey Butcherbird flashed down,
siezed the chick in its bill and flew off with it, the "cheep, cheeps" 
becoming fainter in the shrubbery.

The poor student was devastated, any confidence she might have had in
birdos/scientists was destroyed in that instant - life's tough.



Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy             
School of Veterinary Science & An. Prod.  Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


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