Tricky night bird call

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Tricky night bird call
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 11:26:38 +1000
Last night around 8pm, I heard a loud call.  Several shrieks followed by
a scolding cackle.  Heard it again a few minutes later, but didn't have
time to investigate.

Around 9pm I went out to listen, and heard it again.  So I got my
binoculars and set off to track it down.

At the end of the street I heard it again.  It sounded like it was
coming from the bus yard, but there's a high fence there so I walked
around the block to the other side.  At the other side I heard it again,
but from across the street.

I crossed the street and waited a few minutes outside a warehouse.  The
I heard it very loudly from under the loading bay roof.  After 1/4 of an
hour scanning the roof beams (and two slow passes by a police car), and
hearing it a couple more times I decided that it must be a recording.
It consisted of three parts: shrieks, scolding cackles and weird
cackles.  Not always in the same order, but usually the shrieks were
first, at random intervals from 15 seconds to several minutes.

I rang the warehouse this morning, and it was one of these: Apparently, as a
food grade warehouse, they must keep pigeons, seagulls, etc, away, so
they installed several of these a couple of days ago.  And as the guy
who answered the phone said, "the one round the back was accidentally
left on full volume".

For those who can't be bothered following the link: "BirdXPeller PRO
features birds' distress cries on a microchip (supplied by a major
American university)".  There are apparently 8 species they can choose
from, including some raptors.  More than enough to attract birders!  Has
anyone else been fooled by one of these?

I'm also wondering what effect it would have on the local birds, and how
far away they'd be affected.  Would it leave them in a permanent state
of agitation, or would they just become accustomed to, or just ignore,
the sounds of distressed, presumably USA birds?

Peter Shute

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