Monday, May 01, 2006

What was it up to?

I spend a great deal of time watching Little Wattlebirds in my garden. It's not so much that I do it consciously, more because they're always there. They breed almost the whole year long, and they're very protective of their "patch" and their young. At the moment they have their work cut out, with flocks of Musk Lorikeets on the flowering euc. leucoxylon. But the point of this posting is to recall some strange antics of a LWB recently.

The frequent snapping of its' bill by a LWB drew my attention to it. It sat as per image at left, preening, but obviously catching very small flying insects disturbed from its' plumage as it did so. Shortly after, it flew to the top of a melaleuca and with wings open, dragged itself through the foliage. It then flew back to the original perch and repeated its' earlier performance of catching insects as it preened. I'm not sure whether it was garnering insects to eat in a rather novel way, or using the insects as part of the grooming process. Either way, I don't recall ever see this process in LWBs or any other species. Can anyone shed any light on this behaviour?

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

Sounds very strange - maybe using its wing as a kind of "net" to capture its dinner??