Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Who Only Stand and Wait.

If you're driving around some of the outer suburbs of many towns and cities of Tasmania at the moment, you're bound to notice the number of predatory birds. Most of them sitting on wires and suitable shrubs, often for many minutes at a time, watching for some ill timed movement of potential prey. Most of the prey seems to be insects, which still seem surprisingly prevalent, despite the cold. I watched the Grey Butcherbird pictured here (bottom left), as it sallied from shrub top, to catch insects, most of which were grasshoppers, returning to the same perch to eat the catch. While most of the prey of the Brown Falcons (bottom right) were also insects, the Brown Goshawk, (top right) photographed atop the perimeter fence at the Sorell chicken factory, appeared to have its eye on the small birds, mostly Starlings and Sparrows, attracted to the factory environs. I've seen what I assume is the same bird, on several recent visits. As I approached to photograph it on my latest visit, it was spooked by something at the factory and flew past me at no more than a few metres--far too fast to get a shot, but a memorable view none the less. By far the most numerous of the "wire sitters" are the Laughing Kookaburras, (top left) often in loose family groups. The one advantage of this "waiting" stategy, is that it requires much less expenditure of energy, at a time of reduced food and shorter days.

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