Aggressive Behaviour in the Garden

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Aggressive Behaviour in the Garden
From: Trevor Hampel <>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 09:20:03 +0930
Hi there birders,

While working in the garden yesterday morning I was suddenly alerted to
a noisy confrontation nearby. Our resident Willie Wagtails love to
frequent one particular spot where there is an abundance of insects.

Suddenly a New Holland Honeyeater dived in to reap his share of the
smörgåsbord. The Willie Wagtail became quite aggressive, fanning his
tail up high, ruffling the feathers all over and calling in what seemed
to me to be in quite an angry - perhaps even distressed - way.

The honeyeater retreated to a nearby tree, only to swoop in repeatedly
over the next few minutes. Each time the honeyeater would snap at the
Willie Wagtail, zip away a metre or so, grab another insect, and retreat
hurriedly to the refuge tree.

These attacks seemed to trigger even more aggression in the Willie
Wagtail who decided to front up to the interloper. They then faced each
other at about ten paces (bird step size - about 10cm) angrily calling
in each others' face. One last beakful of food and the New Holland
Honeyeater decided that other parts of the garden were more attractive
anyway, and it flew off. The Willie Wagtail continued to feast
contentedly on his little patch.

Happy birding

Trevor Hampel
Murray Bridge
South Australia

Check out my BLOGS (web logs):

Trevor's Birding - observations and photos of birds at

Trevor's Travels - travels in Australia, Thailand and Nepal at

Trevor's Writing - read some of my writing at

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