Mimicing Grey Shrike-thrush

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Mimicing Grey Shrike-thrush
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 15:53:37 +1000
Hello Robert, Frank and Val,
I had a very friendly G S-t at Upper Barron, north Queensland. When I was working outside it would often fly up from the creek about 60 m away and usually sit in the mango or macadamia tree. There it would sing and I would mimic it. If I got it right or at least close enough the bird would move on to a different call. Over the period of a year and a half I tested this a few times by deliberately making an error. The bird would then repeat the call until I got it or gave up. After some months the bird displayed that it learnt which calls were impossible for me by not using them at the start of his little game. I am one of those people who can be very focused ( read oblivious to what is happening around me) and the call which this bird used to attract my attention was a simple four note song very much like that of a Pied Butcherbird. It would sometimes filter through to my conscience that this call was being repeated several times. If I remained silent the bird would persist for some time and even come and sit on the bush-house if I was in there. On more difficult calls the bird would rarely repeat them more than twice. After a non response from me the bird would either give up or go back to a simple song but not always the starting one.
Despite my little experiments in 'civil disobedience' I felt that the bird had more control over our encounters than I did.
Alan Gillanders
Alan's Wildlife Tours
On the beautiful Atherton Tablelands
145* 33' 25"E  17* 16' 40"S

(07) 4095 3784
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