Upset birds in Artarmon
As I start this update post, I regret to say that I do not have any photos to share. The reason is simple. This article resulted from an experience I had last week while playing cricket with my six and half year old grandson. We were in his backyard here in Artarmon, north Sydney, where we are visiting at present. We were really into our game when our attention was drawn to the sound of many alarmed birds near the garden, in the street and in nearby properties. I did not have time to race inside and collect my camera.
First it was the alarm calls made by at least a dozen or more Noisy Miners. They were really upset about something but we couldn’t tell what it was. Naturally we stopped playing our game and started looking around, trying to determine the cause of their distress. My grandson, despite his youthfulness, is often aware of the birds wherever he goes. My intense interest has rubbed off on him and his father.
Next thing the local Pied Currawongs joined in the chorus, along with four or five Australian Ravens. A few seconds later three Laughing Kookaburras joined in the loud calling, along with several local Australian Magpies going stir crazy as well. The local Rainbow Lorikeets, always here in large numbers and always very noisy, set off flying in all directions, calling madly. Three Crested Pigeons skedaddled off over the roof to an unknown destination while the Noisy Miners kept up their protestations.
Meanwhile, the enormous racket unsettled both the Grey Butcherbirds and the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, their raucous calls just adding to the general confusion. The only birds not upset were the softly twittering Welcome Swallows soaring over head. Or perhaps their twitters were in response to the noise below.
My grandson and I never discovered the reason for the commotion. We saw no evidence of a bird of prey, or an owl, or whatever had disturbed the locals. It generated quite a discussion with him about the possible causes.
We will never know. We can only speculate.
Alarm calls have often led me to Birds of Prey, Owls, Feral cats, Snakes etc. It pays to be tuned in.
I agree – I have often found interesting sightings in this way. I am especially tuned in to the bird calls when I am at home (in Murray bridge, 80km SE of Adelaide). The predominant honeyeater at home is the New Holland HE and they always set up a rowdy noise whenever something is around – usually Brown Falcons, sometimes Little Eagles, Kestrels, Black Kites, Black-shouldered kites or even the occasional Wedge-tail. Have also had Hobbies around on occasions. Owls are less frequent visitors though we have a resident Owlet-nightjar.
Feral cats sometimes come through though more often they are pets from next door. We have a few resident brown snakes but these rarely cause reactions from our garden birds; in fact, we rarely see them – perhaps once or twice a summer. Foxes passing through can sometimes cause an uproar, and even the odd errant pet dog.