Tameness of Australian Birds

To: "Birding Aus" <>, "Dean Cutten" <>
Subject: Tameness of Australian Birds
From: "John Turner" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 20:17:01 +1030
        I find Dean's comments interesting. Only today I was at Aldinga CP 
south of
Adelaide and twice I had Grey Fantails fly within a metre of me and perch
about two metres away. A Black-eared Cuckoo was quite happy only about 4
metres away, as were a pair of the same at Gluepot Res a few weeks ago.
        I find it is not unusual in a quiet location to have Thornbills and
Fairy-wrens "ambush" me as as I enter their territory. Weebills and Spotted
Pardalotes are also similarly very inquisitive and trusting. I remember a
couple of years ago at a little-used campsite in the Flinders Ranges when a
family of Splendid Fairy-wrens would hop around under our table and chairs
while we were eating. In Danggali CP one year at various times I had
Gilbert's Whistlers or Red-lored Whistlers challenging me in full view from
bushes only 3 metres away. At Monarto CP, Shy Heathwren and Southern
Scrub-robin will bounce around only a few meters away if you walk into their
territory. Elsewhere, Golden, Rufous or Gilbert's Whistlers, and Grey
Shrike-thrush, will answer any attempt at immitating their call, and come
quite close.
        None of these birds would have been unduly influenced by human 
and their behaviour could not be predicted. I presume this is what Dean
meant in this message, rather than "tamed" birds which have become used to
people in well used campgrounds or populated areas. The behaviour is
probably seasonal and territorially defensive in Spring, but otherwise
simple curiosity.
        I assumed this probably was a world-wide experience, but perhaps the
Australian experience is even better than I thought!
John T.

-----Original Message-----
 Behalf Of Dean Cutten
Sent: Sunday, 18 December 2005 9:34 PM
To: Birding_Aus _Server
Subject: Tameness of Australian Birds


The recent thread on the tameness of rails has prompted me to report a
general observation on some Australian birds around the area I live in.
After having spent 14 years living in Alabama, USA returning in 2003 I have
that many Australian birds are much quieter than those I observed in AL. I
am mainly refering to those birds approached in a backyard environment but
my observations are not confined to that area. It was rare to get close to
birds that frequented our backyard in AL (Red-breasted Nuthatch was
sometimes an exemption to this) whereas here in my current location a number
of species can be approached. The
ultimate here is that I have had 3 backyard species feed out of my hand,
namely, Silvereye, White-browed Scrubwren and Superb F-W with the Silvereye
commanding the most respect from the other  2 species. The Gray
Shrike-Thrush has taken food just inches from my hand. Several Honeyeater
species and Striated Thornbill will allow you to approach them quite closely
while they are feeding in the shrubs. I have had a Gray Fantail land on my
leg while sitting in a chair.

In the field I have noticed that frequenting the same areas regularly some
species don't fly off as quickly when walking up to them. One species in
particularly that does this is the Purple Swamphen. The Australian Magpie is
another species that quickly becomes less intimitated the more frequently
you walk past them.

Dean Cutten

Victor Harbor,  SA

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