Thursday, 16 July 2009

It is easy being green

The birds are getting used to me. It took a week or so before the spotted catbirds (Ailuroedus melanotis) emerged from the forest, but now they sit in the trees in what passes for a front garden, and watch me while I work on the computer.

Catbirds are unusual bowerbirds. They neither build bowers nor construct display grounds. But they make up for their lack of interest in matters architectural with their extraordinary calls, which range from melodious tinks to cat yowls fed through a synthesiser. I've tried imitating them, but they look at me with a mixture of confusion and disdain.

They also steal bananas.



8 comments:

Tyto Tony said...

Being Catbirds, next they'll be wanting cream with their bananas. Your axe murderer may have been been a Papuan Frogmouth?

Snail said...

:) I was amazed that a catbird could pick up a banana. Took a few goes, but one of them managed it.

The axe murderer was a weird one: a sort of rasping, snoring, snorting sound, but in a regular pattern repeated at intervals. Though it was a pig or a shirty possum at first, but the regularity and complexity of the call didn't sound mammalian to me. Anyway, I haven't seen evidence of pigs around here (although they're in the area, I'll bet) and the sound seemed to be coming from the ground, which might rule out a possum.

I shone the spotlight around but didn't go exploring because I couldn't be bothered putting on my outdoor gear again. Not really the spirit of adventure! I'll be more prepared next time.

mick said...

Another great bird - and again shows what a great place you have! How about a little night-light camera set up in an appropriate place to catch some of your night visitors?

Sherryl said...

Beautiful bird. Either you're very patient and still, or you've got an excellent zoom. I love seeing your photos.
Hope the ticks are leaving you alone?

Snail said...

Mick, I've been thinking about some infrared or light-multiplying set up but I'll have to see how much it costs. I can windowshop, anyway. At one of the accommodation places near Lake Eacham, they've got an infrared camera hooked up, so you can watch the sugar gliders on telly. Also David Nelson (In The Wild blog) had one set up in a possum nest box. I could ask them about it.

Sherryl, I do have a good zoom lens but these birds are quite bold. The catbirds regularly sit in a low, open tree about 6m from the window. Sometimes it's difficult getting enough distance between the birds and the camera!

Snail said...

And the ticks bites ... They're declining but I suspect that's because I've fed every single tick in the forest!

Dave Coulter said...

Lovely shots there :)

Snail said...

Thanks, dave. They are rather spectacular birds. Noisy too.