Gidday from Tamborine Mountain

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Maranoa
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Gidday from Tamborine Mountain

Gidday I'm a newby from Tamborine Mountain who has been an avid birdman for over 50 years. My new home on the edge of the rainforest has good quantities of birds, but the old timer locals tell me that there are no where near the numbers they used to be.

The most common bird in our yard is the Satin Bowerbird, we have a bower right on our back fence. We have seen the Regent Bowerbirds but they are much rarer.

We have Topnot, Wonga, Wompoo, Rose Crowned, Green Winged, White Headed and Brown Fruit Doves along with Crested Pigeons and Bar Shoulded Doves.

Yellow Tailed Black and Sulfur Crested Cockatoos are very common and forage in our garden, Galahs, Long Billed and Short Billed Corellas fly over. Pale Headed and Crimson Rosellas are common, along with King Parrots. Lots of lorikeets of course with Rainbow, Scaly Breasted, Little and occassionally Musks in the tall eucalyptus.

We have five or six resident Laughing Kookaburras, lots of cheeky Currawongs, Magpies, Tawny Frogmouths, Boobook Owls, Channel Billed Cuckoos and lots of other big stuff.

And, I haven't even started on the others.

timmo
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Lucky man, sounds like a great spot you've got.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

timmo
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Oh, and welcome to the site, by the way.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Woko
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Terrific, Maranoa. Any small birds like wrens, thornbills?

Maranoa
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There is a worrying lack of small birds. Occassional  few silver eyes, red browed finches and the very odd wren

Woko
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Do you have lots of native understorey in your area to provide habitat for small birds? If not, enlisting the cooperation of neighbours & the local council to provide habitat would be helpful. 

Do you have roaming cats in your area? Some local councils (e.g., Adelaide Hills Council near me) have slowly become aware of the dangers posed by cats to wildlife & are requiring cat owners to do such things as register, microchip & confine their pets. I've recently written to the Pet Food Association of Australia urging its members to put warning labels on pet food packaging about the dangers posed to our wildlife by cats, especially. So there are things which can be done to help in the establishment of a wildlife friendly culture.

Maranoa
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Mate we have extensive full on old growth and regrowth rainforest to within a few metres of the back door and the local rainforest regeneration groups are sensationally, possibly world's best practice. I don't think cats are this particular locations main biodiversity problem. Any cat outside the house wouldn't survive up here care of the rampant paralysis ticks and the plentiful pythons. So the usual suspects are not the problem. Something else is at work, perhaps the overpopulation of Currawongs/Pied Butcher Birds? But, the lack of small birds even up here surrounded by national parks is a real worry. Same in the western suburbs of Brisbane that used to have prolific small birds, silver eyes, wrens, finches ect in the early 2000s are now small bird deserts and the cats have been a constant.

Woko
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Most interesting, Maranoa. Do you have an over abundance of Bell Miner colonies which might be interfering with the natural order? I did a little investigation on line in the hope of explaining the decline in small bird numbers in the Blue Mountains but didn’t find much. Maybe I didn’t look carefully enough. Often the real explanation for an ecological phenomenon lies some distance removed from an apparent cause. 

By the way, it’s great to learn of the difficulty cats have in surviving in your area. Go pythons!

Maranoa
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I haven't heard (or seen) any Bell Minors here on the Mountain, but they are common on Cunningham's Gap about an hour and a bit away. So Bell Minor dieback is probably not the answer either. I've also noticed that insect numbers have collapsed in SE Qld and there is hardly an insectivor to be seen.

Maranoa
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I haven't heard (or seen) any Bell Minors here on the Mountain, but they are common on Cunningham's Gap about an hour and a bit away. So Bell Minor dieback is probably not the answer either. I've also noticed that insect numbers have collapsed in SE Qld and there is hardly an insectivor to be seen.

timmo
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That's really interesting Maranoa. It's quite surpising that you don't get small birds in an area like that. In open forest, noisy miners are very effective at driving them off, and butcherbirds, magpies and currawongs don't help, but in RF that shouldn't be a problem.

I would definitely expect to be seeing things like white-browed scrubwrens, brown thornbills, eastern yellow robins (and other robins) fairly consistently around decent rain forest. Silvereyes are a bit more on RF margins, and finches and wrens would tend to prefer more open areas of long grass with cover to disappear into. 

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Maranoa
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I've gone from surprised to worried. Not just birds, but everything from bats to butterflies seems to be dying off. The quality of the rainforest is fine, augmented by myriad high calorie food sources from cultivated plants in the gardens here and about. But small birds nada, almost zilch.

Woko
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Perhaps the cultivated plants in nearby gardens might have something to do with it. They’re exotics, I imagine, & would offer low quality habitats for native birds.   

Would drought conditions &/or climate change be factors? 

Maranoa
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I doubt it mate, Tamborine Mountain is a wonderful conglomerate of old style gardens and intense triple canopy rainforest with extensive bangalow patches. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a more bird friendly area. What few small birds are here are heavily focused on the old camellia and rhodendran gardens which is no surprise as most Australian birds expanded their diets to imported plants over the past two 230+ years. The fruit pigeons are a case in almost entirely dependent on camphourlaurel trees and are suffering now with plunging populations now that their is open war on camphourlaurels.

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