Tuesday, 1 March 2011
A gang of apostlebirds
Whenever I'm in apostlebird country, I always hang onto my car keys. Not that I'm suggesting that apostlebirds are hooligans, but I don't want to get into my car to drive home and then find the glove box ransacked, the dashboard covered in grey feathers and the front seat coated with bird poop. This hasn't actually happened yet. I attribute that entirely to my care with the keys.
This gang of apostlebirds joined us for lunch at Chillagoe. After determining that we had nothing they wanted, they proceeded to check out the building to see whether there was something worth eating or stealing. I didn't see them drag anything out, so I'm guessing they were disappointed. (Or had already made off with their haul.)
Apostlebirds form family groups in the breeding season and maintain a small territory. At other times, they roam further and their social structure is much less rigid. Groups that meet during the non-breeding period may join up and forage together (often around picnic tables) or even swap members. The exchange of individuals helps prevent the sort of scenario that you might expect if Wes Craven remade The Birds.
Actually, that's a movie I'd pay to see. As long as the grey-plumaged hoodlums didn't steal my wallet first.