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Thread: The Birdwatching Thread

  1. #31
    Member bravenewworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LezLee View Post
    Apologies Ken, just found some different pictures.
    Isn’t the difference amazing?
    I was talking about magpies to my afore-mentioned Melbourne* friend as she said they were lovely birds with a lovely song! Over here they are positively hated as they raid other birds’ nests, stealing eggs and eating the chicks. They also make a horrible ‘football-rattle’ noise. It’s even legal to shoot them here.
    According to Wikipedia:
    A member of the Artamidae, the Australian magpie is placed in its own genus Gymnorhina and is most closely related to the black butcherbird (Melloria quoyi). It is not, however, closely related to the European magpie, which is a corvid.

    That should go some way towards explaining the differences between the birds. All the same, the European magpie is pretty intelligent (I'm not sure if it is more or less so than the Australian), so I think it deserves real appreciation.

    *That is, unless you meant Melbourne in the UK.
    Last edited by bravenewworld; Oct-09-2018 at 07:13.

  2. #32
    Member bravenewworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    We here in the colonies have loved to shoot our birds. The passenger pigeon, quite a large bird, once flew in flocks so great they were said to darken the sky, like an eclipse. “In 1866, one flock in southern Ontario was described as being 1.5 km (0.93 mi) wide and 500 km (310 mi) long, took 14 hours to pass, and held in excess of 3.5 billion birds.” (Wiki) They may have been the most numerous bird species on earth at that time.

    But the last wild bird was shot in 1901, and the final survivor died in captivity in 1914. All gone, victims of mass slaughter and habitat destruction.
    A tragedy nearly as horrible is that which befell your only parrot species in the States, the Carolina Parakeet. There is some debate as to what really ended the reign of that magnificent animal, but it is certain that hunting and deforestation played a role.

    800px-AudubonCarolinaParakeet2.jpg

    We in Australia have a greater diversity of parrot species, and we've been lucky that few (only one I can bring to mind) have been declared extinct, unlike our mammals, amphibians and non-parrot bird species. That one extinct parrot I can remember is the Paradise Parrot. The Night Parrot we had thought extinct for over a century, but a few years ago several small populations were discovered. Unfortunately, it looks as if our Critically Endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot from Tasmania (see below) is headed down the path to extinction, with the 'conservative' government in Tasmania hellbent upon continuing the heavily subsidised, low value deforestation of the regions in which it lives. One would think conservatives would care most about conservation. Another problem facing it is the introduction of sugar gliders to Tasmania in the 19th Century; these are not native to that state (they are mainland marsupials) and have been eating the eggs of the parrots.

    m735f3jw-1385434487.jpg

    The natural range of this species is limited (below), but it is very much migratory and has historically been an important species involved in the pollination of the great forests of the entire South-East, along with the Regent Honeyeater. I believe in good custodianship of the landscape, but when combined with this species' ecosystem function I am made livid by its plight.

    Orange-bellied Parrot.gif

    So I'm afraid that, whilst we've had a better record on bird conservation in the past, things are going downhill here rather quickly, and there are many other species beyond the Orange-Bellied Parrot which are in jeopardy.
    Last edited by bravenewworld; Oct-09-2018 at 07:40.

  3. #33
    Senior Member LezLee's Avatar
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    From the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology)

    Five Cuckoos in the Congo

    “We now have five Cuckoos in the Congo rainforest - Thomas from Norfolk, Robinson from Nottingham, Bowie from Hampshire, Victor from Suffolk and Knepp from Sussex. Cuckoo Sherwood who has spent a few weeks near Dakar in Senegal left that location on 2nd October and has since covered 1,300 miles, flying east, first to The Gambia, then on to his current location in Benin, via Burkina Faso. We've been tracking Lancashire Cuckoo Larry since June 2015 but we haven't received an update from his tag for almost two weeks, when he flew from Chad into Central African Republic. He usually winters in northern Angola and in 2016 he moved south into the Congo basin on 29 Sept. However, in 2017 he didn't leave until 9 November. It will be interesting to see what he does this year. Keep an eye on the Cuckoo-tracking pages for the latest updates as the birds move down into their wintering areas.”

    I don’t know why there aren’t any ladies there

  4. #34
    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    I'm really pleased to see this thread. A female tawny owl was just kwicking outside my window. Birds are one of the things that make even bad days seem a little better.

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  6. #35
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Fairlea View Post
    I'm really pleased to see this thread. A female tawny owl was just kwicking outside my window. Birds are one of the things that make even bad days seem a little better.
    We were lucky at our previous home at the edge of the forest. One night I heard 3 great horned owls calling back and forth. On another, 2 screech owls' shivering calls. Several times owls would sit within 20 feet of the bedroom window and call, as ghostly silhouettes seen dimly in the night.

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  8. #36
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Alfred Hitchcock speaks of the age-old relationship between man and the birds. “In my lecture, I hope to make you all aware of our good friends, the birds.” And so he does – kind of.



  9. #37
    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    grey heron.jpg

    Grey heron on our local river. Not rare or exotic, but none the less lovely.

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  11. #38
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Local mal-named species: One would expect a red-bellied woodpecker to have a red belly, but alas, all one ever sees is an occasional slight pink wash if the light is good. Situation the same for local green herons--3-4 different colors here and there about the bird; none of them green, not even remotely. Great Blue Herons? Not so much. If grey is blue, then they're blue. Essentially a clone of your grey heron, above.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Oct-18-2018 at 12:55.

  12. #39
    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    Here's another one for heron fans. A distinctly grumpy heron.

    Grumpy heron.JPG

    And that's it for herons.

  13. #40
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I too be happy to find this thread today... and learn that Strange Magic is a fellow paddler... good way to see birds!

    Here on the Russian River I look forward to migration season. Just yesterday a small flock of birds, too far away to identify, few over my street erratically, as if they were trying to decide who to follow... I imagined this flock eventually growing in size and finding a common trajectory....

    Most of the tourists look for blue herons, and the herons oblige. Others are more difficult to see, like the kingfishers, and the ospreys often start off early mornings with a loud screech. Those orioles that Ken posted, show up in the off-seasons, and always get my attention. Like most California rivers, we have blue-violet swallows in the spring building nests and hunting hatches, and lots of chickadees, which often fly in my house and could be the cutest species on the planet...

    I love to hear the woodpeckers laughing, and just yesterday on my run, a raven was talking to nobody in particular, in a rhythmic pattern of oscillating clicks, in perfect descending and ascending 4ths, sounding like tuned wood blocks...

    We also have hummingbirds, loons, redtail hawks, bald eagle nesting grounds on a nearby laguna... I have only one avian enemy, those pesky blackbirds / grackles or whatever, they fly in aggressive gangs and scare all the other birds off. So a few years ago I disturbed their nesting rituals by shaking the trees they like, and now they go somewhere else...
    Last edited by philoctetes; Oct-18-2018 at 18:35.

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