Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Currawong lines up a meal

These images were taken on 12 December 2009.

In December last year, there was a particularly wet day. An adult Pied Currawong was looking for food, as it had a hungry chick. Given the weather it probably needed something to cheer itself up, when not having to feed the chick. (They supposedly feed chicks high protein meals of insects and small birds and lizards).

This bird was on the lookout for some sweet food for itself. It spotted a pear which I had placed out on the bird feeder table.

What's this?
I'll check it out with my left eye, first.
Now from straight ahead.
I'll give it another look, with the right eye.

Having decided that it could not believe its luck, it moved in close.

If you are getting stared at like this, by a Currawong,
then there's only one thing going to happen.
You're on the menu.
Got it.
Needless to say, the Currawong flew off - barely able to believe its luck.


Wilma said...

That is a very handsome bird! Great photos of it on your bird feeder.

mick said...

Great photos - I always find it interesting when birds take their time like this to look over an unfamiliar situation.

Flabmeister said...

When we first moved to Canberra (1983) I quite liked these birds, as I saw one kill a starling. Then I went through a period where one nested outside my office window leading to many scenes of pardalotes and thornbills being dismembered on the window sill and they went to the bottom of my favourites list. Last Summer they made it impossible to walk across our lawn as they defended their nest above. Still at the bottom of the list!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks, Wilma and Mick for comments.
Martin your comment raises the problematic issue (for me) of what can I provide to some birds which the Currawongs will not be attracted to? Apart from nectar (sugar syrup) I cannot think of anything. And I have heard that disease spreading is an issue with that.
The old ethical dilemma of to feed or not to feed appears again.
At the moment I compromise, by not feeding them regularly, so at least they are not "dependent" on me as a food supply, with issues of supporting an over-population of one species, etc.
Already I have decided never to offer bread or grain, as the wrong kinds of birds would come in (Sparrows, Starlings & Mynas).
My Rosella and Wonga Pigeon populations get by just fine with what nature provides them.
I do not have a chook run - the most obvious source of "imbalance" in the food supply in semi-rural settings. Also, it minimises rodent problems (and also help minimise snake problems).
Is this the Greatest Moral Challenge of our Generation?
Oh, no - that was Global Warming.
Whatever happened to that idea?


Snail said...

Currawongs have a particularly intimidating look about them. I definitely would not want to be a small animal fixed by that yellow-eyed stare.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
Absolutely right about the "stare"
If you were small enough, it's be the last thing you say before being dead.
It's OK for the Pear, as its seeds can survive, but a Lizard? No way.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Yeah, how about that eye. Almost seems like it would enjoy your camera for a meal. Nice tableau.
Not too much wrong with your feeding regime Denis. You're aware of the issues and don't overdo it etc, it provides great enjoyment and is instructional in its way.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Gouldiae for the re-assurance re my limited "feeding" regime.
I do it for the chance to observe the birds at close range, which I find endlessly fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Hi Denis, I will second Gouldiae's comment. I agree with you that it is endlessly fascinating to observe the birds .... we put fruit out when we have excess but it is not a regular occurence. And the birds are usually helping themselves to the fruit in the orchard anyway!

Anonymous said...

...and I forgot to say that I really like the photos, especially those with the misty clouds in the background. It makes the Currawong look more sinister!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks for the comments, Barbara.
Currawongs do not need help to look sinister, but the misty background does help accentuate that.
Because my area has true "rainforest", the plants of my area have many berries. So many birds are naturally fruit eaters. Plus, of course, both the Bowerbirds and Currawongs feed on lots of worms, moth larvae, etc. So I am only supplementing their natural food sources.