Honeyeater alarm calls

Subject: Honeyeater alarm calls
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 11:24:28 +1100
On Saturday I went bird watching in Brisbane Waters National Park with
specific directions from Michael Hunter and Andrew Taylor (thank you both)
on where to find glossy black cockatoos, but unfortunately none were

I made what I thought was an interesting observation relating to honeyeater
alarm calls. I was alerted to a large mixed flock (15-20 birds) of New
Holland and White-cheeked Honeyeaters when they collectively sounded alarm
calls. Looking up I saw a Whistling Kite overhead. Later after the Kite had
moved on, and the calls had subsided, the cacophony recommenced. Thinking
the Kite had returned I looked up and observed an Australian Pelican. I had
good views so I was sure there was no Kite in the vicinity.

I have heard that Noisy Miners give specific calls depending on the type of
raptor, so in this case how could the HE have got it so wrong. This begs the
question, do birds recognise raptors/predators or do they react to the size
and behaviour of the potential predator? In this case the pelican was
circling and may not have appeared too dissimilar to a White-bellied Sea
eagle (which were also evident in the location), but I am not aware that Sea
eagles take passerines as prey.

I look forward to your comments.

Alastair Smith
Law Enforcement Liaison
National Coordinator Child Pornography

Phone: 02 6275 6726
Mob:   0401 993 381
Fax:    02 6275 6996

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