Pied Butcher Bird Performance

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birdie
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Pied Butcher Bird Performance

I was so delighted this morning as I set off on my morning walk to hear the whole family of butcherbirds in our area, calling to eachother. They sit in small groups or pairs at the very top of the tallest gums that they can find and put on the best show ever. Have you ever closely observed a Pied butcher bird in full song? For the low notes he bends down low and nearly falls off the front of his branch then quickly straightens up to hit the higher notes. When he reaches the loudest top note he puffs out his chest to twice the size and stands up with wings half out as he pushes the crystal clear notes out, then finishes the low note with a deep bow.
In our area the others chime in and harmonise at times and it is just glorious, some of them will just improvise with a couple of low notes while the main singer leads. I don't care how many nestlings they eat, the reward of listening to that each day is worth is for me.

Just thought I'd share something close to my heart here :)
Cheers

Birdie

WheresMyBinos
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Wow birdie, that is the best description of a butcher birds performance - I can almost hear it from here! They are wonderful to hear in full song, and for me their song is the sound of Australia!

GregL
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We have families of pied butcherbirds around. They sing every morning, a wonderful song. It sounds like a person whistling in a way, a very clear tuneful song. I hardly ever see the birds but am always surrounded by their song.

I don't think they eat a lot of nestlings, mainly lizards and insects. I would forgive them anything.

timmo
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Yeah, I love them too birdie.
I have been out doing lots of work in the garden over the past few days - chopping out exotic, invasive trees and replanting with lots of natives to make a small "wild area" for birds, and I love the way they seem to know to come around any time you're digging or mowing.
.
I was digging out one of the stumps and the butcherbirds were having a lovely time feasting on the mobs of cockroaches, bugs and crickets that were hiding amongst the roots. Strangely they seemed fairly ambivalent about fat, juicy earthworms though - cockroaches must taste better.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

birdie
birdie's picture

Glad you liked the description wheresmybinos!
I have been gathering all my pics of them and the rest of the birds around my house and will one day post them in a slide show somewhere with the recordings too. Just have to tweak a bit if technique there!
Greg, they were the first reason I came on here .... heard them but never saw them and had to know who made that beautiful sound. Once I had been told..... you guessed it... they were in every tree and very noticeable :)

Sunshine Coast Queensland

birdie
birdie's picture

Hey wheresmybinos... do yours start at 4.45am? I checked the clock this a.m. to be sure but that is when they started and they were calling to each other form all directions....beautiful although I did hope to catch another hour's sleep :)
If you are interested in bird sounds I will include a link here for a recording I made of them and the catbirds..it is on You tube with a slide show as that is the only way I could get the sound to post reliably. There is not really a suitable place to post it on here unfortunately.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4RyiE8CugY

Cheers

Birdie

Sunshine Coast Queensland

WheresMyBinos
WheresMyBinos's picture

Hi birdie,sorry it has taken me so long to reply.... I havent had time for a bit to check out the forums as work has been very busy. That is a wonderful recording and I really enjoyed listening to the all of the different sounds.

As for my butcher birds, I only rarely get to hear them close to home as we live in town, so it is usually when we get out of town that we hear them, and hopoefully that will be a bit more often now as we have just picked up our camper trailer....now all we need is a rain-free weekend to get out there and use it. I cant wait to wake up to the sound of the aussie bush .....

birdie
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Sounds good...... a rain free weekend.... that is almost every weekend up here !!!
Where do you live again? I have a 5 minute memory :)
Hope you get to enjoy the camping really soon

Sunshine Coast Queensland

WheresMyBinos
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I am in a small town in central Qld, near Emerald, so it is a very nice part of the world, but then I am biased. There are so many nice places though, and we can't wait to see more of them.

birdie
birdie's picture

I have never been to Emerald, but I am told there is nice country around there and some good birding so you are lucky.

Sunshine Coast Queensland

WheresMyBinos
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Yes we are very lucky, and are so glad that we live where we do. We have been able to identify a few birds that seem common around our area - the one I get most excited about at the moment are the pair of wedgetail eagles that live around the mountain close to town. They are thrilling to watch, and I always can't wait to see them again. We do lack some of the very interesing birds I have seen photos of in this forum from the southern states, but I think thats great as I will have an excuse to have to travel and see all that is on offer in the rest of our great country.

johny
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Hello all, I am new to this sight. I found the site because I was concerned about one of the pied butcher birds that visit us each day for feeding. She has been visiting for about three to four years now. Until a few days ago she was in excellent health, but now she seems subdued and her feathers are very messy. She appears to have bald spots around her neck. Can anyone offer advice please.

BryanT
BryanT's picture

Possible caused by Poxvirus.
BUT the most common cause is Vitamin Deficiency caused by FEEDING WILD BIRDS... Unfortunate consequences of feeding wild animals. Example feeding butcher birds with meat only diet, or feeding parrots with only seeds.

Bryan

BryanT
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Try call the wildlife organisation near your place.
They might be able to catch it and provide some treatment.

Bryan

johny
johny's picture

Thank you Byran
I have emailed the wildlife organisation and awaiting a reply. Yes I am aware that restricted diets can cause problems, but I doubt that this is the problem here. She has been visiting for the past four years and always in good health, until now. I have not changed the amount or type of meat I give to any of the butcher birds and they are all receiving identical amount and type of food. The male and baby are both in good health. Mostly they rummage around the lawn and trees for food and so choose their own diet. We live on a property and have many trees and much wildlife in the area. My little friend visited today and I don't know if it is just wishful thinking, but she did look slightly improved.
Thank you once again for your reply and suggestions.

BryanT
BryanT's picture

Hope you are right.
For diet deficiency, it took very long time to develops the symptoms. And not all birds have the same effect, some develop kidney disease and die quietly without us notice that. Sometime people wondering why after many years, the birds they were feeding all those years, suddenly didn't turn-up anymore, they didn't realise that they are killing the birds slowly.
Hopefully that not the case. As I said, the effects on individual bird might be different.
But it can be fixed easily if they get the proper diet by themselves.
Hope the bird will be fine. Good luck.

Bryan

Araminta
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Bryan, ....you explained that soooo well!!! I hope all the birds, fed by "well meaning" people , will be fine!?! And as you said, the only proper diet, is the one they find themselves. Thanks!

M-L

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