Grey Butcherbird attacks

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Subject: Grey Butcherbird attacks
From: "Roy & Helen Sonnenburg" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2010 14:40:10 +1000
Grey Butcherbirds are fairly common attackers particularly in SE Queensland.
My studies indicate that the behaviour seems to be triggered by several
things such as a chick being handled after falling out of the nest,
interfering with the nest, using noisy machinery such as mowers and brush
cutters, and shrill voiced small children.  For quite a few years I was
involved in relocating attacking butcherbirds from sites such as schools,
childcare centres, hospitals and homes for the aged.  I was initially hired
by Q'ld Parks and Wildlife Service but later on the school, or whoever
wanted the bird removed, had to foot the bill as QPWS funds were squeezed.
The butcherbirds can be very nasty and almost always draw blood around the
face area. It is also a learned behaviour and you will often get adults and
several juveniles all attacking at once.  Pied Butcherbirds will also attack
but not in anywhere the same numbers as Greys.

I have seen quite a few instances where people have been injured taking
evasive action while being attacked.   The attacks can last up to six weeks.
People often cannot go into a garden or similar outdoor area without being
attacked.  For various reasons I have not removed any birds for a couple of
years now.  I was originally hired by QPWS when they could not catch birds
using their own staff.  


Roy Sonnenburg (Ornithological consultant)

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