Little Corellas at play

Subject: Little Corellas at play
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:57:07 +1000
On 29/08/2014 8:41 PM, brian fleming wrote:
At Banyule Flats Reserve (Heidelberg, Vic) this morning, there was a big flock of Little Corellas feeding on the mown grass round the oval - meaning at least 200 birds. I did try to count them but many were out of sight behind oval banks etc. Most were feeding. I was able to drive the car pretty close to get photos.

One bird caught my eye by apparently turning a somersault and ending up lying on its back. Another bird, presumably its mate, came up close and bird A got right way up. Bird B nibbled at Bird A's breast - this looked affectionate. They would feed for a little, then Bird B would sneak up alongside or behind Bird A and bite at A's leg, sometimes turning it over or onto its side. This happened repeatedly - frequently ending up with both birds flapping while apparently on their heads in the grass. It looked like wrestling, with the birds holding each others' feet in their beaks.Bird A didn't seem to mind B's activities - made no attempt to fly away. Their antics were really very funny, and I wish I had remembered that my camera will in fact take a short movie (until its battery dies). Still photos don't really convey the effect. My impression was that this was definitely play. At one point B seemed to try to mount A, but A side-stepped with agility. This went on for several minutes, but unfortunately a dog put the whole flock to noisy flight and they settled on power lines and nearby trees. And once on the power-line, I strongly suspect that Bird B was the one showing off by alternately hanging upside-down by one foot, and then hanging by its beak alone. None of the other Corellas in sight was indulging in these antics; they stuck to feeding. I shall put up a few of the photos on the Birdline Photo Gallery in the next few days.

Another bird, apparently solo, found a discarded small empty plastic bottle of a coffee drink, and spent a lot of time trying to chew it, often from the neck, and otherwise playing football with it. I think this was play too, though not social.

Anthea Fleming
I forgot to mention that several birds in the Little Corella flock were picking up large fallen twigs and pieces of bark and carrying them in their beaks as they walked about. Some birds tried to grab the twigs from others, resulting in short tug-of-war episodes.

    Anthea Fleming

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