<no subject>

Subject: <no subject>
From: "Syd Curtis" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 17:12:16 +1000
Hi All,
    Heather Gibbs wrote :
       " A friend reports seeing a blackbird gathering fruit inside a bird net and
(repeatedly) feeding young ones waiting outside through the netting. I guess
it wouldn't take great intelligence, since the young would try get as close
as possible to the parent and be stopped by the netting.

But it just goes to show ..."

This reminded me of a happy incident of a decade or two ago.  Victoria wanted to set up a Butterfly House - an enclosure in which butterflies could be raised, confined, and displayed to the public.  

[As an aside, I should add for the sake of anyone unfamiliar with such operations, that this is not a simple matter of building a glass-house in which the (often tropical) food plants of the caterpillars can be grown.  Butterflies don't recognise glass as a barrier and batter themselves to pieces  against it.  So it becomes a matter of some skill to achieve the right 'strength' and placement of shade cloth to achieve good plant growth and butterfly recognition of the barrier.]

At the time of which I write, there was a successful Butterfly Farm on Tamborine Mountain (70 km s. from Brisbane, Queensland), and I had the pleasant task of taking a Victorian visitor to see the farm and discuss techniques.  

In the course of the discussion it was revealed that the Queensland National Parks & Wildlife Service had granted a permit for a pair of White-browed Scrubwrens to be confined within the butterfly enclosure to help control unwanted insects.  Great was the delight when it was found that the WBSWs found the situation so much to their liking that they nested and raised young.  But there's more!

In the course of time, the birds found a break in the netting and got out.  The break was low down, and did not reduce the effectiveness of the enclosure for butterflies, so it was not repaired.  The birds could move in and out at will ... and did so.

But they returned to the safety of the enclosure to nest!

My (admittedly imperfect) memory brings to mind the names of Gary Sankowski as the butterfly expert and Alfred Dunbavin-Butcher as the Victorian zoo representative.  If I'm wrong I apologise - and would be grateful for being corrected.

WBSWs have always been special for me:  my first solo effort of finding an active bird's nest was of WBSWs - at the age of two  (= less than 3) according to my mother.  I have a clear recollection of exactly where it was, and the type of grass it was in, but not of any other circumstances.   



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