Talking Tactics Birds

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  • #922730

    micmac3701
    Participant

    The Currawongs are down from the hills about a month early this year. Quite a few bird species move with the seasons but these guys are big, loud and obvious so easily noticed. Just speculating that it may portend a harsh Winter season on the way. Whether that means cold with plenty of snow or wet and slushy, only time will tell.

     

     

     

     

    #922763

    jimmyellenberger
    Participant

    Hmmm…Thats interesting. We have a couple sub-species down here in Tas and there is no way either of them would consider shifting camp. The high altitude crew have quite a distinctive language and sound nothing like the Klinking Currawongs down in the lower elevations. We even have the suburban variant which has learned that the easiest source of protein for feeding a nest full of fledglings is dog biscuits. Dogs sleep a lot, and currawongs see everything.  I share quite a lot of fruit with my local family. They know I am pretty slack with the whole door routine and the fruit bowl gets raided constantly.

    It will be interesting to see how your winter goes.

    Cheers…Jimmy

    #922764

    BarryJ
    Participant

    I have noticed the odd flock of white cockatoos around lower Hobart suburbs over recent weeks. My great grandfather (deceased now but he was a shepherd & farm hand around 100-120 years ago) always said they headed to lower altitudes if harsher conditions were likely in Tassie’s highlands.

    #922775

    flylife
    Moderator

    We get black cockatoos whenever the weather turns wintery for a day or two in the highlands.

    #922777

    micmac3701
    Participant

    Yep the big yellow tailed black cockatoos have been getting about with their distinctive call. Local farmers tell me that when you see them it means rain is coming.

    #922779

    DrGraham
    Participant

    We have two species of Currawong in Tasmania, the Black Currawong Strepera fuliginosa, which is endemic to Tasmania and the Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor.  The Grey is also known as the Clinking Currawong in Tasmania. There are three subspecies of Black Currawong Strepera fuliginosa fuliginosa on the Tasmanian mainland, S. f. colei restricted to King Island, and S. f. parvior in the Furneaux Islands.  The Tasmania Grey Currawong is a separate and isolated subspecies (S. v. arguta) to the Australian mainland subspecies.  It’s actually quite dark, almost black like the Black Currawong and easily confused with the latter, except the Grey has white patches on the underside of the tail and wings.  Both the Black and Grey are widely distributed throughout the Tasmanian mainland.  The Black tends to be live more in wet sclerophyll forests, whereas the Grey prefers open dry forests, but both are found together.  The Grey is said to be quite sedentary, doesn’t migrate.  Some texts say the Black does migrate to lower regions in winter, others say not.  I’ve seen both at Penstock and in all seasons.

    The story of black cockatoos being a portent of bad weather is common in Tasmania, but without foundation.  Local ornithologist Eric Woehler says it’s just coincidence.  I call it a reinforcing coincidence.  People hear the story, see the cockatoos and experience bad weather a day or two later, ergo the story must be true even though the birds are also seen prior to good weather.  I see them all the time in my garden, they make a mess of my banksias. A flock went through this morning and the forecast is looking quite mild for the next week, certainly not bad weather or storm, so I’m heading back to the shack.

    The reality is, while some birds genuinely migrate, others simply become more active at certain times of year, whether feeding, different food available, or breeding, and give the impression that they have just appeared whereas they’ve been there all the time.

     

     

    #922782

    flylife
    Moderator

    I believe it. We rarely see black cockatoos in our part of the Coal valley. Expect some snow in the high country.😉

    The feral white ones magically appear en masse whenever you plough a paddock or sow a crop out here, rain, hail or shine.😠

     

    #922799

    micmac3701
    Participant

    The Currawongs of the Mitta Valley certainly do migrate, perhaps its tied to resources but it appears to happen just before the the first southerly blasts of winter, as it has again this year.

    Saw the largest flock of Black Cockatoos I’ve seen in ages yesterday arvo. Normally just see flights of two or three looping through but this was more than a dozen perched in a tree by the river. Might be too many campers and 4WD’s in the hills so they were looking for some peace and quiet. And yep rain all day today, so coincidence well and truly reinforced.

    #922802

    DrGraham
    Participant

    Micmac, you’ll have plenty of Pied Currawongs (Strepera graculina ) where you are and that’s the species that does indeed migrate.

    #922808

    jimmyellenberger
    Participant

    I just love how Doc always manages to get the binomial nomenclature properly sorted out for us. I have come to depend on that as being one of the more useful outcomes in our neck of the woods.

    Kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, species. Ahhh…those were the days.

    Thanks Doc, and  Cheers….Jimmy

    #922809

    DrGraham
    Participant

    Jimmy, your are most welcome.  I was formally trained in taxonomy and systematics, which were the foundations of my 40+years of marine and freshwater ecological research.  I am more than happy to pass that information gained back to the public who supported that research.

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