Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Death in the lower paddock

A family of Pied Currawongs (Strepera graculina) moved into my back yard several days ago. When I woke to the sounds of young Currawongs begging for food, I was immediately concerned for the welfare of the nest of baby Blue Wrens about which I wrote last week.

Sure enough, when I checked the nest yesterday, it had been destroyed. The opening was far larger than it had been, and the nest was empty.

The photo is by J-P Reber, from , which is a Swiss Conservation organisation which kindly permits fair usage of their images for Internet users who are writing about "Nature".

Robertson residents know that Currawongs are great eaters of fruit and berries, for muchof the year. But in breeding season, they change their diet to include far richer foods - fat insects, like "curl grubs"; lizards and baby birds. The adult Currawongs do what most human parents in a Supermarket do - get the kids what they want, to shut them up. The fledglings are totally self-centred and keep demanding more. When I saw a family of Currawongs move into my yard, I sensed that the days were numbered for the baby Blue Wrens.

Given a choice between a family of Currawongs, and a family of Blue Wrens, I know which I would prefer, but I am trying not to be too sentimental about this. After all, Blue Wrens are hunters too, it is just that we humans tend not to care too much about the things which they eat - tiny insects, mostly almost invisible to us. This is all part of the circle of life.

"So pound for pound

feather for feather,

"Blue Wren is as much a killer,

As the fearful Peregrine.

"It is just that we care little for its prey,

humble aphids, midges, and flies."


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