To: Gary Wright <>
Subject: Apostlebirds
From: Ivor Preston <>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:39:09 +1000

As secretary of Birds Australia NQ, I receive a number of requests for info - 
this one came last year about Apostle bird behaviours and we published it in 
our newsletter - here is part of the e-mail.

"We have 13 acres of land in western Brisbane which is well-treed but also has 
grassy paddocks and a creek plus two dams. A group of Apostlebirds appears to 
come to live there in about November each year and stay for several months 
(maybe they are nesting? – now that I know what the nest looks like, I will see 
if I can find one).  They tend not to come into the house yard, but roam all 
over the rest of the land (and our neighbours’ properties, as well). However I 
have observed them in the house yard on several occasions over the last several 
weeks, not on the ground, but congregating mainly on the fence and nearby 
clothes-line, sometimes on the roof.  The object of their visits seems to be to 
empty the pegs out of the peg basket that hangs on the clothes line. The peg 
basket is rectangular and made of white plastic-coated wire. I kept finding 
pegs on the ground, underneath the clothes-line, and at first I thought the 
wind must have been tipping the basket over. However, I have now observed the 
Apostlebirds on several occasions working as a team to remove the pegs from the 
peg basket one at a time and drop them on the ground. One bird will jump into 
the basket and remove a peg, while the others watch and “chatter”, then that 
bird hops out onto the clothes-line or nearby fence and another bird hops in to 
remove another peg and so on. They do this for a while and then all fly off 
together. They keep coming back over the next few days until all the pegs are 
on the ground. If I put the pegs back in the peg basket, they keep coming back 
every day to remove them. At first I thought they may be going to use the peg 
basket as a nest, so left it empty for a week. The birds did not visit the 
house yard or go near the peg basket. I then put all the pegs back in the peg 
basket and they were back next day removing them. They do not damage the pegs 
either in the peg basket or on the ground. I am not worried about the pegs of 
course, but I wondered why these birds are doing this. Do you have any idea? "

Sounds like they have been associating with bowerbirds!

On 20/04/2010, at 10:21 AM, Gary Wright wrote:

> Hi Michael
> I didn't know that they were over the range.  I see no reason why they wont
> continue to travel westward expanding their range. There is still plenty of
> pastoral and agricultural land for them to expand into.  When I moved to
> Wilmington 11 years ago, the nearest places I knew Apostlebirds was out on
> the Moochra Range and halfway to Peterborough.  They are now common in
> wilmington.  some people of course hate them due to noise??  I love them and
> love it when a big mob come into the garden and grizzle around.   Happy
> Jacks is another name for them that I like.  I first met with them at Cania
> Gorge NP in Qld and I was in a caravan park on the edge or in the park(some
> strange arrangment, which I can't quite remember)
> Anyway there was a cat there and a dripping tap.  The Apolstlebirds had the
> cat sorted out with two on sentry duty as the rest drank
> Gary
> On 19 April 2010 20:10, Michael Dolan <> wrote:
>> Funny that you & Tony should bring this up. I was pulling into the Mambray
>> Creek CP camping area last Friday afternoon, late & was sure I saw 3 or 4
>> birds on the road side as I drove past. Didn't have time to stop, but when I
>> did get organised & had a look at my guides it seems that this is there very
>> western edge.
>> regards,
>> Michael

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