cat v Brown Goshawk

To: "Messages Birding-aus" <>
Subject: cat v Brown Goshawk
From: "Shirley Cook" <>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 07:29:00 +1100
Dear all,

Some friends live on a small property a few kilometres north of Armidale NSW. Margaret told me this story:

We enjoy watching the small birds coming to our birdbath - it can be seen from lounge, dining room and kitchen, so practically all day. These include Yellow-faced and White-eared Honeyeaters, Superb Fairy-wrens, Eastern Spinebills, grey Fantails, Silvereyes and the larger Crimson Rosellas.

However a few weeks ago we had a much larger visitor, a blundering juvenile hitting the house windows and perching on the picnic table squawking "kek-kek-kek" - a handsome Brown Goshawk, chocolate brown on the back with a beautifully barred fawn and brown breast. We were alarmed for the safety of the little birds but encouraged to read, "...the rabbit is an important prey species for the Brown Goshawk", as the paddock and garden are plagued by them.

Some days ago the goshawk was perched silently on the edge of the picnic table when the neighbour's black cat appeared on the patio. The goshawk spread its wings and attacked. The second it pounced, the cat looked up and took off in terror, fleeing up the drive with the bird in pursuit, flying low and barely a metre behind. I went up the drive expecting to find a dismembered corpse but there was no sign of either of them.

All the little birds seem happy - revelling in the late flowering "Candy Pink" bottlebrush and splashing in the birdbath, harassed only by a bossy Willy Wagtail. The goshawk has been back, but not the cat!

Shirley Cook
Birds Australia (Northern NSW)

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