The Return of the Ferals

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Woko's picture
The Return of the Ferals

Anecdotally, where I live in SA native bird numbers are well down while House Sparrow & Starling numbers are up to 5 & 2 respectively yesterday.  Some of the factors I've considered for this circumstance are:

  • the temperature has been below average for a couple of months
  • there are very few raptors around with only 3 Brown Falcons & an occasional Black Kite to predate the ferals. There have been no Brown Goshawk sightings for several months
  • neighbours' revegetation efforts are really showing up now that we've had good rains so far this year & may be encouraging many of the native birds which were once here to spread their wings, so to speak, & populate new areas
  • again anecdotally, there is less flowering of trees & shrubs so far this winter
  • some species may be absolutely terrified of the encroaching housing development of Mount Barker & skeedaddled for more pleasant locations

Is there anything I might have missed? Have other Birds in Backyarders noticed anything similar?

Lightuningbird's picture

Iv actually noticed a decrease in sparrows and starlings. I know the starlings move around but I havnt seen them at all this winter. As said, the weather is year is rather cold. I'm going to guess that they have temporary moved becuse of this.

i have, however, seen an increase in feral pigeons. Normaly I wouldn't see them this far from town, but there is a flock of around 10 at the local silos. There are also pigeons walking down the streets, never have I before seen this many pigeons away from a larg city. This may be because I havnt seem much of the peregrine, or mnay falcons this year. 
There has also been large numbers of mice and rodent feeding raptors, black shouldered kites and nankeen kestrals.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

Woko's picture

Yes, Lightuningbird, the presence or absence of raptors has a significant effect on Common Starling & House Sparrow numbers it  seems. The trio of Brown Falcons &  the Black Kite are still in attendance while the Sparrows have been absent for 2 days & the Starlings for 1.

We've also had for 4 days a New Holland Honeyeater on a nest 3 meters from our back door where there is heavy (human) traffic. Last year a New Holland Honeyeater nest was built 4 meters from our back door in a different shrub but was abandoned after a day or so. I do wonder if local New Holland Honeyeaters are finding protection from predators in human presence.

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