Bird baths: the regurgitation factor

Our Grey Butcherbirds have for a number of years, particularly when raising young, visited for a hand out, generally a bit of mincemeat which they catch when it is tossed to them
Often they park their reward in a forked tree branch and sit watching it, and after a minute or two, they regurgitate a black pellet and then eat their mincemeat or take off with it to feed their young.
These pellets are oval shaped and about 2cm long and quite hard,
Ken Haines
 
Sent: Monday, January 6, 2020 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Bird baths: the regurgitation factor
 
My local currawongs disgorge camphor laurel, privet and false tobacco seeds, which are our main pest weeds along the riverbanks in Gloucester. Sadly our rivers are no longer running. Perhaps first time ever. Certainly first time in living memory.
 
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Penny Brockman
 
 
On Sun, 5 Jan 2020, at 10:51 AM, Anthea Fleming wrote:
A long time ago we had two fledgling Willy Wagtails in our care, and fed them on meal-worms. Some of the meal-worms turned into beetles, which the birds pursued and ate.  They then regurgitated the hard wing-cases.
Pied Currawongs regurgitate Pittosporum seeds and the hard kernels from pomegranates. They also eat the seeds from Currajong pods, but they must be able to digest them completely.
Anthea Fleming
 
 
On 5/01/2020 9:55 am, Geoffrey Dabb wrote:

001701d5c352$05707b90$105172b0$@iinet.net.au type=”cite”>

Many years ago, my grandparents, who lived at Upwey, would occasionally put out strips of liver for the kookaburras. I remember being told (must have been about 1950) that sometimes they would cough up less desirable stuff they had eaten to enjoy the liver. I now believe this was regurgitation of undigested remains, kookaburras being one species that does this routinely.  Sometimes a bird will need to regurgitate obstructive remains to take in more food. My best example of this is a Dusky Woodswallow on a powerline, clutching a European Wasp in one foot while it ejected a large pellet of insect remains. (Photo from last June, Canberra)

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              bird sitting on a branch
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This brings us of course to the Pied Currawong, the regurgitative habits of which have been discussed on more than one chatline. Messy, crumbly pellets can create a problem at backyard watering sites that the bird visits, presumably to drink, such as dogs’ water bowls, bird baths and ornamental water features. Australia’s champion regurgitator I would say (passerine division).  Indeed it might be a contender for the world title, although I believe the American Robin has a similar reputation.

There is a photo. I might just be able to fit it in under the limit if I reduce the woodswallow one.  GD

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              small bird sitting on a ledge
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