To: Ivor Preston <>, Gary Wright <>
Subject: Apostlebirds
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:57:45 +1000
Is it possible they're actually looking for spiders in among the pegs?

Peter Shute

> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of Ivor Preston
> Sent: Tuesday, 20 April 2010 11:39 AM
> To: Gary Wright
> Cc: birding aus
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Apostlebirds
> Folks,
> 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!

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