12 February 2010

Predators and mouthfuls

The parrots around here have been very flighty lately, for the raptors have been eating well. A wedge-tailed eagle prefers a king parrot to a lorikeet tidbit, but both will do. Unlike the eagles that fly back into the treetops, a little Nankeen kestrel uses the top of a power pole as its perch, and makes repeated swoops down to the open paddock, for grasshoppers that are flourishing now after some rain, and the day-flying dung beetles. At night, the owls enjoy a flush of giant hawk moths.

Although only sometimes we hear a short garbled cry or longer scream, we often find the remains of prey and can only imagine diner, prey, and dinner when we come upon the plucked out clumps of feathers, an unmeaty wing with the feathers all intact, cicada and moth wings. Our balcony has been chosen as a sanctuary by a number of traumatised parrots and on three occasions, mauled racing pigeons who somehow slipped a raptor's grip. The parrots come and then flee back to the more bushy trees, and then fly back here, undecided as to the safest place, but the racing pigeons hunker in the eaves.

Different prey
These leaves didn't get away from other predators who also have quite a discriminating taste.

The fish that didn't get away
All this is leading to a different mouthful, Queensland Museum's latest fascinating Question of the Month: "One jumped up, one pumped up, both dumped up"

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