Birds in apple orchards: a Miner pest?

Can farming techniques foster biodiversity, or even help fix some of the problems like invasive pests? A few ideas regarding apples and birds.

Bacchus Marsh is known for its apple orchards. They are uncaged, and scare guns are the main tool (that I’m aware of) to keep birds such as the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos from smashing the crop. In West Australia, the endangered Baudin’s Black Cockatoo can be a major pest in apple orchards, sadly a contributing factor to its endangered status. Both species are seed eaters: they tear open the apples to eat the seeds inside, a very frustrating behaviour for the farmer.

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One that didn’t make it

Previously I posted about the drama of the white-plumed honeyeater caught in a tree due to a synthetic thread that had caught around its claw. One hypothesis a birder friend put to me was that it was a young bird who had caught its claw on the thread whilst in the nest.

A dessicated cadaver under the trees across the road from my place bears out this theory. This one never made it out of the nest, although perhaps it managed to drag the nest with it a little ways. Continue reading

When a life hung by a thread

A little White-plumed Honeyeater was flapping around in one spot in the top of the redgum in my backyard one morning. I wondered what the hell was it doing, and was it caught somehow?

Sure enough, soon a gang of rival New Holland Honeyeaters appeared to attack, it couldn’t get away, and only had two brave friends show up to defend it. Clearly it was stuck. So I threw sticks to scare the New Holland Honeyeaters away, while running around like a headless chook trying to figure a way to rescue the poor bugger, who was at least 7 meters above the ground. Continue reading