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.
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.
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.
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