Flocking behaviour of spinebills

Subject: Flocking behaviour of spinebills
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 14:43:03 +1100
Hi all,

Eastern Spinebills are one of the most abundant birds here in the Blue
Mountains, and very frequent visitors to my garden. While they are widely
scattered throughout a variety of habitats, I regard them as birds which
are usually only seen singly or in pairs, and not often congregating in
larger groups.

This year has been a little unusual. The last few months I have had at
least four adults and one immature regularly in my garden, often at the
same time. I consider this a rather high density as my yard is very small -
only about the size of a courtyard, although there is a large bushland
reserve opposite. No matter what time of the day I look out the window,
there is generally at least one spinebill in the garden. Yet there has been
very little flowering - at the moment just one small correa and a couple of
epacris. There is also a Cedar Wattle which is exuding nectar from the
leaf-stem glands.

This afternoon there was quite a commotion in a shrub in the garden. I
looked out the window and counted 8 adult Eastern Spinebills in one small
bush. One was singing loudly while others flew in from all directions, and
they were all displaying or posturing to each other - it reminded me of the
"corroboree" behaviour of New Holland Honeyeaters. I haven't seen
spinebills do this before.

Whatever flowers they had been feeding from had dusted them with white
pollen all over their heads.



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW

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