Thornbill research assistance

To: <>
Subject: Thornbill research assistance
From: "Roy & Helen Sonnenburg" <>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 10:25:58 +1000
I am posting this with the emails involved to let you know how it came about.   
If there is anyone who can help Michael please contact him direct.



From: Michael Griesser 
Sent: Wednesday, 31 March 2010 5:36 AM
To: Roy & Helen Sonnenburg
Subject: RE: thornbills

Hello Roy,

Many thanks for your reply. It would be very grateful if you could post a 
message on the birding-aus list. Would you need more details regarding the 



From: Roy & Helen Sonnenburg 
Sent: den 30 mars 2010 01:44
To: Michael Griesser
Subject: FW: thornbills

Hello Michael

As you can see Brian sent me this email as I am a bander and ornithologist.  
Unfortunately I have commitments at that time but suggest that you contact a 
birding chat line called birding-aus as there are many ornithologists and 
birdwatchers who subscribe.  I could post your message there if you wish.  An 
alternative could be to contact the Australian Bird Study Association.  Graham 
Fry (the Secretary) is a very active bander.  


Roy Sonnenburg

From: Brian Venables 
Sent: Sunday, 7 March 2010 2:07 PM
To: Roy Sonnenberg
Subject: Fw: thornbills

Roy Hi,
I know of this chap Michael Griesser through a mutual friend and feel disposed 
to help him if I can.
In your situation, you may just know someone who is in a position to assist 
Michael. Please contact Michael directly if you can assist.
Roy are you on the Cairnzbirdz mailing list ? John Seale is the editor and he 
emails everyone with unusual sightings as they are observed. If you are not on 
it and want to be I'll attach the link.

Brian Venables
527 McCormack Street
Edge Hill 4870
Mob: 0427607197

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Michael Griesser <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Sun, 7 February, 2010 6:21:15 PM
Subject: thornbills
Hello Brian,

Am back in the north enjoying -15C and the snow, quite a difference from Cairns 
at this time of the year.
Regarding the thornbills – as Eva might have mentioned, the thornbills do not 
really fulfil all the requirements needed for my project, and I have thus 
decided to adapt my idea slightly to be able to do it on European birds. 
Nevertheless, the Tasmanian thornbills are very interesting since they differ 
in their behaviour substantially from the mainland populations. Instead of the 
small groups observed in ACT and NSW (2-3 individuals), in Launceston the birds 
formed large groups after the breeding season of up to 25 individuals. Seems 
also that these groups are quite fluid and sub-groups change back and forth 
between different large groups.
I suspect that the key difference is a lower nest predation risk in the good 
habitats (with a lot of bracken) and lower abundance of nest predators than on 
the mainland.

Now, it would be very interesting to look at the breeding season to see how our 
observation from Dec-Jan relate to their reproductive strategies, and to test 
if my hypotheses regarding nest predation rates are in the right direction. I 
would therefore be interested in finding somebody with a OZ banding licence to 
spend around 8 weeks in Launceston (mid Sept to mid Nov) to look at the 
breeding period. I would obviously cover all the costs and will pay a field 
wage of around $1000-1500 per month.

Moreover, I have a friend (a PhD student here at my department) who seems to be 
interested to do some experiments on the thornbills with respect to nest 
predation and warning signals within the breeding pair when a nest predator is 
around. So, there is a good change that there will be two people there, making 
the work more interesting and easier.

If you know anyone that could be interested in looking at thornbills for me 
during two months, could you please just forward the this email?

I will most likely later on this year visit a friend in Townsville (after the 
Behavioural Ecology Conference in Perth), which might give the opportunity to 
finally meet.




Michael Griesser
Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Box 7044
SE-75007 Uppsala

Tel: +46 (0) 18 67 23 54
Fax +46 (0) 18 67 35 37


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