Tim Dolby wrote:
Compare that to 32 recorded reports in the current year (2009). The
link to Moreton Bay Fig does seem significant. I think the Fig, like
certain bird species, including Australian Figbird amongst others, are
benifiting from changes in climatic conditions across southern Australia.
Tim et al.
I'm glad to see that the provocative title of my original email has
stirred up some interest!
There's no doubt that foraging resources and potential brood hosts are
abundant in Melbourne, and for these reasons the Koel is likely to
become a successful member of the regular migratory avifauna. The
analogy with the Grey-headed Flying-fox is a good one, food-wise.
Interestingly, none of the smaller insectivorous cuckoos are successful
urban exploiters in Melbourne (from my PhD research - and general
observations), but the larger frugivorous one is a different beast
Whilst the Moreton Bay Fig is undoubtedly significant, there are a
couple of observations worth considering:
* Planted MBFs are abundant and widespread in Melbourne
(particularly in the centre and east), but many are quite old -
they're not recent colonists (as Ivor has just noted);
* At various times of the warmer season, other fruiting tree species
will be available for Koels to use (e.g. the plums in bayside
mentioned by Ivor, etc.);
Whilst there were 32 records to date this year in Victoria, that's most
unlikely to be 32 birds. They are moving around a bit in central
Victoria/Melbourne, and apparently are seldom encountered in the same
place on consecutive days. There are probably <10 individuals. Until
the number gets higher, successful breeding may either not occur, or be
difficult to detect.
Interesting nonetheless - bird assemblages are certainly not static!
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