Weebills and Butcherbirds

  We live in Ivanhoe, now classed as an inner suburb and close to the
Yarra River and to Darebin Creek. We have been here for fifty years, and
we have lost most of our smaller garden birds.  Eastern Spenebills
visit, but White-plumed have vanished along with Black-faced
Cuckoo-shrikes, Shrike-tits, Grey Fantails, Blue Wrens and White-browed
Scrub-wrens.  We have Common Mynahs in swarms, but Starlings and both
House and Tree Sparrows have gone . We have Grey Butcherbirds and
occasional Kookaburras, and Spotted Doves. Brown Thornbills are now
visitors, not residents.

  One reason (apart from the Mynahs) for the disappearance of small and
large insect-eaters could be the proliferation of European Wasps. Seldom
do we find caterpillars of any kind these days, even in an unsprayed
bushy garden.  Wasps are serious predators of grubs and caterpillars.

  Mynahs seriously affect the hollow-nesters, and another problem is
the numerous feral Honey-bee nests in tree hollows.  Wasps take them
over too.Willow removal along the Creek led to the disappearance of
Sacred Kingfishers which used the hollows they develop at quit an early age.

Anthea Fleming

We never had any Weebills, by the way.

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