Townsville migrants/garden birds

Subject: Townsville migrants/garden birds
From: Alexandra Appleman <>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 11:06:58 +1000
I was asked to write an article on birds in our garden at Garbutt (a
light-industrial suburb of Townsville, which includeds the airport and RAAF
base) for TOWNBOC's newsletter the 'Drongo'. This had me searching both my
own lists and the birding-aus archive and I uncovered the following which
some may find interesting. 

First, I heard a Channel-billed Cuckoo calling on passage overhead in the
early hours of 7 September (1999) and early hours of 12 September (2000).

Second, Chestnut-breasted Mannikins were first observed in the garden at
the feeding table on 7 September 1999, when 9 birds turned up and within
days the numbers grew to over 100. Last year was a horror year for Bush
Fires, starting from the Queens Birthday weekend in June. The numbers
gradually decreased until only the odd CBM turned up, and by early January
none were recorded.

This year the CBM's arrived a month earlier on 4 August, 10 days after the
first council burn-off. The numbers are now  approaching 200 with many
juvenile birds. I will have to check the incubation and fledging periods
but the present throng suggests that the birds may be taking advantage of
proximity of seed and water bowls and lush vegetation of the garden to
raise their young. It will be interesting to see if their numbers drop off
rapidly when the wet season (hopefully) arrives. 

Alex Appleman
Townsville, NQ      

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