Birds in vineyards

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Birds in vineyards
From: "Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins" <>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 09:49:54 +1100
I recently spent a weekend on my brother's vineyard.   Some of his vines are netted and although an occasional silvereye does get itself caught, my concern was with the general lack of birds.   I know my brother does not try to harm them, so their absence is not due to any sort of physical attack.
I grew up there and have returned regularly over the years.   The place always used to be teeming with birds and it concerns me to see the change.   Maybe my visit coincided with a quiet day, but the only species I saw were introduced - sparrows and starlings.   I know there usually are silvereyes and goldfinch too.   The dawn chorus that morning consisted of one yellow-faced honeyeater call.
Up until recently it was an orchard.   The fruit trees were always sprayed, as are the grapes.   There are two isolated areas of native bush both of which are now suffering from dieback.   Every blade of grass in the vineyard is mown to keep it tidy.
I guess the change is because of the lack of shelter in the vines compared with the fruit trees, and the loss of habitat as dieback affects the eucalyptus.   Maybe modern sprays have more effect on birds too.
Whatever the reason it is not good.
Cheers Annabel
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