Bird Wars

On a regular basis I have witnessed aggressive behaviour in birds. On a previous post I wrote about the conflict in our garden between a Willie Wagtail and a New Holland Honeyeater. The New Holland Honeyeaters seem to be aggressive towards many species. So is the Red Wattlebird, often seen chasing away other species from its favoured feeding plants.

Willie Wagtails are well known for taking on much larger birds, even as large as a Wedge-tailed Eagle which is many times its size. This is especially so during nesting time. Magpies get very aggressive during breeding season, the male defending the nest from all who dare come near the nest, humans included.

On fewer occasions I have observed a group of one species attacking a single bird from another species. Mobbing of Owls by honeyeaters, for example, is relatively common. Less common, in my experience, is a group actually doing harm to a single bird. While driving recently near our local racecourse I saw about a dozen Common Starlings attacking a Spotted Turtledove. The details are sketchy because I was concentrating on driving and couldn’t stop to observe further. The hapless turtledove seemed destined for a nasty demise. Perhaps the lady walking her dog towards the scene of the crime disturbed the attackers and gave it a reprieve. Whatever happened, I saw no body there a few hours later as I passed the same spot.
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