Hi from Sydney inner west

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gecko
gecko's picture
Hi from Sydney inner west

I enjoy watching the birds in my garden and this morning saw something fascinating. Two large-ish brown and white birds came up on the balcony and started feeding like honeyeaters (mad flapping of wings) under a table that had a paper wasp nest attached. I haven't seen any of the wasps for a while, so guessed the birds were after honey. Then one of them managed to detach the nest and sat on the balcony ledge with it for a while before flying off with the nest! Then I noticed another nest had disappeared at some point. I've seen these birds before but have no idea what they are. They have brown backs with a bit of white edging to the feathers, a pale front, a long-ish strong looking beak, square-off tail with some white across it. I think they had a paler ring around their necks. I don't have a camera - and besides if I had moved even though I was inside I'm sure they would have flown away. I tend to think of honeyeaters as little bright things...

Wollemi
Wollemi's picture

Hi Gecko,

The only bird I have seen attacking wasps nest has done a great job cleaning up all of the wasps around our house. It was a grey butcherbird, which can appear brownish. They do tend to take chunks of the nest or the whole nest away and they break it up and eat the larvae inside.

I have attached some photos. These birds are smaller than a kookaburra, but larger than a magpie lark (Peewee)

Hope this helps.

Wollemi

Woko
Woko's picture

Most interesting, gecko & Wollemi. We have quite a few native wasp nests around the place. A couple of months ago I heard a Grey Butcherbird for the first time so with a little patience & a good supply of wasp nests we might be seeing more of it/them.  

zosterops
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do they eat european wasps?

Woko
Woko's picture

Wouldn't that be a treat for all concerned?! 

soakes
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I haven't seen a nest attacked, but last week I had heaps of European wasps hanging around the back yard, presumably getting food of some sort.  A couple of magpies were catching and eating heaps of them.

soakes
Olinda, Victoria, Australia

Woko
Woko's picture

That's encouraging, Soakes. 

There was no sign of Magpies here eating the European Wasps. "My" European Wasps are no longer about so I'll need to wait until warmer weather to see if the local Magpies find them palatable. 

WhistlingDuck

Welcome to the sites and forums

gecko
gecko's picture

Gosh...Wollemi I think you might be right! When I first saw one, I thought the head was like a small kookaburra. That bottom picture of yours is exactly what I saw - including the white collar. I had no idea we might have butcher birds round here, but there are lots of tall trees. How wonderful. Thanks so much.

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