Emus and Pines and YTBCs

To: brian fleming <>
Subject: Emus and Pines and YTBCs
From: Harry Nyström <>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2015 10:16:44 +0000
Hello from Finland, where pines are aplenty.

I hope other non-Australian readers, such as Wim Vader from Norway, will
contribute more as I will surely forget something.

Indeed, Capercaillie eats pine sprouts, which is an important food source
especially during winters. With pines I mainly mean Scots pine, *Pinus
sylvestris*. Other notable species in pine forests are Crossbills,
especially Parrot Crossbills, which use their plier-like beaks to open pine
cones to get to the seeds. Other Crossbills use also pine (although they
might prefer other conifers), so it is not exclusive to Parrot CBs. Some
tits, like the European Crested Tit and Siberian Tit are common in pine
forests and mainly nest in that habitat. European Nightjar is also a
typical open pine forest species in Southern Finland during Summers (the
nights seem to be too bright for it in Northern Finland). Common Redstart
is also a typical pine forest species, although is typically also seen in
gardens. And where there are Redstarts, there are also Common Cuckoos.
Several insectivores use young pines to hunt for e.g. spiders. Pines are
also typical for marshes and bogs, which function as a birthplace for
millions of mosquitoes, and they form a significant food for several small
passerines, such as Goldcrests and Willow Warblers. Nevertheless, the
biodiversity of pure heath-type dry pine forests is quite poor. Pine cones
are important food also to Red Squirrels. Lastly I have to add that planted
Macedonian Pines (*Pinus peuce*) and Swiss Pines (*Pinus cembra*) are an
important food source for Eurasian Nutcrackers.

Spruce forests, on the other hand, have usually different kinds of birds
ranging from Great Grey and Ural Owls to Three-toed Woodpeckers, Goshawks,
Willow Grouse, Greater Spotted Woodpeckers (they use the seeds in the cones
for food), Chiffchaffs, Wrens, Red Crossbills etc. On the Eastern border
and in Northern Finland there are also some nice species like Red-flanked
Bluetail, Pine Grosbeak, Two-barred Crossbill, Siberian Jay etc. Also,
Goldcrests are far more common in spruce than pine forests.

Otherwise, the forests are typically a mix of trees, not solely something.
Of course the main component might be pines in many forests, especially on
drier heath land, but there are also some birches, spruces, rowans and
alders when the ground gets a bit more moist.

When I was in Orange, New South Wales in 2012, we saw a Swamp Wallaby in a
planted pine forest and also several White-throated Treecreepers singing on
the edges of the forests. Also, one Eastern Rosella flew into one.
Otherwise they looked like too dense (i.e. too close to each other) and
biodiversity-wise too poor (no understorey etc.) for abundant wildlife in
my Finnish pine forest point-of-view.


2015-08-05 7:30 GMT+03:00 brian fleming <>:

> I believe boreal conifer forests in Northern Hemisphere have a
> considerable bird fauna.  According to the books, the huge grouse species
> the Capercaillie eats pine sprouts. Time to open a European field guide.
> Anthea Fleming
> On 5/08/2015 2:15 PM, Roger Giller wrote:
>> What is the situation in the northern hemisphere, with their very
>> extensive
>> natural pine forests? Are they as sterile as our plantations of introduced
>> pines are, with low species diversity and numbers, or have the birds
>> co-evolved with the pines?
>> Roger Giller.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf
>> Of
>> Greg and Val Clancy
>> Sent: Wednesday, 5 August 2015 11:41 AM
>> To: brian fleming; Peter Shute; 
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Emus and Pines and YTBCs
>> I have observed Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos feeding on fallen Macadamia
>> and Pecan Nuts on the ground in South Grafton but his is unusual.
>> We must not forget that no matter how much bird habitat introduced pines
>> provide, and this would appear to be very limited, they are no substitute
>> for the local natural vegetation.
>> Regards
>> Greg
>> Dr Greg. P. Clancy
>> Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
>> | PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
>> | 02 6649 3153 | 0429 601 960
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: brian fleming
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2015 10:19 AM
>> To: Peter Shute ; 
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Emus and Pines and YTBCs
>> Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos love seeds from pine-cones.  When/Pinus
>>> radiata/  plantations first became mature and FCV workers wanted to
>>> collect seed for more plantings, they found YTBCs were attacking the
>>> cones
>>> and threatened to start shooting them.  Then they found that 1)the
>>> cockies
>>> tended to drop the cones after eating a few seeds from the tops, and 2)
>>> the cockies were much better judges of the ripeness of the seeds than the
>>> men were.  So the men picked up the fallen, slightly bitten coneas and
>>> everyone was happy.
>>        I notice that cones found under the local trees seem to have been
>> completely chewed to pieces, but the culprits are Sulphur-crested
>> Cockatoos which will feed on the ground. I have never seen YTBCs on the
>> ground
>> Anthea Fleming
>> .
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