Tameness in Australian birds

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Tameness in Australian birds
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 10:44:57 +0100

        Seen from a European perspective Australian birds are notably tame, 
loud and unafraid  (almost like its people!). During my visits in Australia 
(together more than a year, mostly in the SE) I was always struck by this 
tameness; not only do a large number of birds eat from your hand here and there 
(all from Noisy Miners to Currawongs, and from Kookaburras to pelicans and 
Emus), but also the flight distance seems to be appreciably shorter. As a 
result I manage to get nice bird portraits in Australia of birds like Willie 
Wagtails and Grey Fantails, and even of terns and ducks, while I almost never 
succeed in doing this at home: the birds fly away before I can get them close 
        I do not know the reason for this very clear difference (and the USA is 
much like Europe in this respect), but have always thought, that the original 
absence of large ground predators may have something to do with it. Selection 
for wariness and stealthiness somehow has not been quite as keen in Australia 
than in Europe and America. Or do you know of better explanations?
        I use this chance to wish all Birding-aussers a happe.healthy and 
harmonious 2006. I hope to come back and visit OZ again in the middle of next 
year, and may come back later to ask for info on where best to go.

Vader, Tromsø Museum
Tromsø, Norway

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