Wednesday, October 24, 2012

UPDATE: Grey Shrike-thrush nesting nearby

It's only bad news really. The pair of Grey Shrike-thrushes that were attempting to nest at my neighbour Carol's place, in the bottom half of the water fountain by her back door, have abandoned the nest and separated as a couple. The mate, more than likely a female, has not been heard from for probably 5 days now.

I was over visiting Carol yesterday and discovered the nest was empty. I took some photos but no eggs were even laid in the nest. The photos did not come out clear enough to add here. The nest was a crude attempt at building a nest, and was full of sticks and leaves, and some lichen and cobwebs by the look of it.

The male was spotted calling from trees when I was there, like he was trying to attract a mate. His song seemed desperate and urgent. The poor little fellow, I think he misses his mate.

As Grey Shrike-thrushes are not normally seen or heard in Tenterfield it may be some time before another bird comes along. His voice is loud, and for a very good reason. If you are the only one of your kind within a 10km square area you'd want to be heard too. Surrounding Tenterfield is lots of trees but generally Tenterfield is an open plains area mostly inhabited by willow trees and the odd gum trees. The entire area is not ideal for most bird species actually.

Why this bird simply didn't move away from the area with his new mate is beyond me. Why he didn't find a more appropriate nesting site is again another mystery. Having a large dog suddenly start barking and is known for chasing birds is not an ideal location for building a nest in that vicinity. It's stressful for birds especially if you are a newbie to the area.

Has it become so bad for birds that they are forced to inhabit areas in close proximity to human habitats? Where else are birds going to breed or sleep when there are barely any plant life outside of people's homes? Tenterfield is not designed for birdlife, and the areas in town outside of people's homes are mostly barren of plant life and generally are open spaces with lots of grass everywhere.

The Tenterfield Creek is also barrren, mostly devoid of trees and other plant life. I am surprised that the birdlife in Tenterfield is clinging to what little habitat there is here. The birds surely must be desperate to stay here, else they all would've left by now.

The Grey Shrike-thrush was the same, desperately clinging to life in what little plant life they could find. Obviously there was enough food in the area for them to stay but simply not enough plant life to breed in. Whether the male Grey Shrike-thrush finds another mate or moves elsewhere is anyone's guess right now. It will take time, if he chooses to stay here. However, locating more of it's own kind is almost next to impossible here in Tenterfield, as the male depends upon them passing through town before he can hopefully find a mate. His best choice is to leave town and try and find a population of his own species elsewhere and start again from there. As sad as it will be to see him go, there really is no other option for this species in Tenterfield.


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