Re: birding-aus [Fwd: [Help] Perplexed {01}]

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus [Fwd: [Help] Perplexed {01}]
From: "Paul Taylor" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 23:29:37 +1100
> I have just witnessed an event that has me very perplexed.
> When I went outside at 21.50 torch in hand I spotted a possum running
> along the Optus cable.
> Nothing unusual in this as I have enjoyed these antics for the last 2 
> years. The possums  have gotten used to my presence with the torch and 
> scarcely take any notice of me.
> What surprised me was the sight of a crow attacking the possum!  At first
> I thought that the light from my torch had disturbed the crow from its 
> sleep and it  just hit the scurrying possum by accident.   But the crow 
> then kept going after the possum, and managed to hit it (The possum) and
> not ever the cable the possum was running along.
> I have  never seen a day bird fly very far at night, and never with such 
> precision carry out complicated maneuvers at night.
> There was a fair amount of moonlight. I still required a torch to see 
> adequately though, especially among the tree branches.  The crow navigated
> between these, only ever hitting the possum.
> Obviously the crow was defending its nest or territory.  And it definitely
> was a crow, if I had any doubts, the ruckus it made soon disspelled them.
> Are there any  naturalists / zoologists out there who have any ideas on
> this subject?

Brush-tailed Possums are known to raid nests for eggs and chicks in
New Zealand, so I imagine the situation is the same here in Australia;
if this possum was trying to raid the crow's nest, it would certainly
provoke such a response.  The Moon is just past first quarter at the
moment and should produce enough light for a bird to fly without 
hitting anything.  Nocturnal birds are not apparently dazzled by lights,
so the torch may not affect crows either.  (Lights ruin human night
vision.  You need around ten minutes of darkness for your eyes to adapt,
after which you don't need a lot of light to move around with care.
Campers who use lightweight nylon tents know only too well how bright
moonlight can be!  *Dim* red lights are used by astronomers to read 
star maps etc, as they do not adversely affect night vision.)

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