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Post Info TOPIC: BIRD BEHAVIOUR


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midnight feast


yeah i already mentioned about Peregrines hunting Woodcocks at dusk, i understand what is mentioned about bats but i would say in this video the bird is definatley plucking feathers, you see some of them float away, looks like a bird to me? i was thinking about the bird disturbing known roost sites for a midnight feast, easy picking, we all know Sparrowhawks regualary visit known gardens with feeders including mine to hunt for food, maybe they go to known roosting sites at night to also hunt for food, still lots we dont know about birds, ?

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RE: BIRD BEHAVIOUR


Yes I saw that nick.think it cited the extra light in the city making it possible for them to hunt.its a good shout.maybe there are plenty of street lights near the camera site.would love to know what it caught.was it taken from roost etc.

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Wasn't there an item on Springwatch this year about city centre Peregrines that had been discovered to be taking prey at night?

I think they'd found the remains of Woodcock, etc around their nest site which only migrate at night.

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That is interesting Dennis.a call to dave cully might be in order!I suppose if anyone would have observed this before it would be him.I wonder if it was a bat that was caught?would be good to know more about this subject...

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Sparrowhawk hunting at night?



An interesting video on flickr. A friend of mine set up nightvision filming to capture owls and instead caught a Sparrowhawk with a fresh kill at nightime, i did not know sparrowhawks hunted at night? interesting





http://www.flickr.com/photos/46443141@N07/7969160196/in/contacts/

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RE: BIRD BEHAVIOUR


Going back many years I saw a gull on the receiving end for a change. At Elton Reservoir I watched a couple of Crows attack a gull after it had caught a fish. They made it drop the fish and one of the Crows scooped it up from the water and carried it away to a nest.




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Hi bill thanks for the response.
Yes I am aware of kleptoparasitism and that is certainly what it appeared to be I have just never seen the tactic employed on a house martin!it was comfortably outflying the gull and didn't appear injured in any way.it could have mistaken it for a petrel though I am not sure it would have even seen one yet!
Regarding the great crested grebe I once saw a black headed gull swimming behind an adult and getting fed.whether this was maternal instinct or a case of just feeding it to get rid is anyone's guess.
Whatever it was it tickled my fancy anyway.its always nice to see something new and I wondered if anyone had seen this behaviour before.
Cheers Chris.

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chrisdorney wrote:

I was at the Albert docks today and saw a juv herring gull chasing a house martin.I am presuming it was after a mouthful of insects but I have never seen this before.any other ideas?
Cheers Chris.





Hi Chris,

You are probably right in your observation, gulls are well-known for their habit of stealing food from other birds - kleptoparasitism is I think the technical term given to the practice by academics and other such users of long words! It was interesting to read Chris Brown's post on the Jumbles CP thread yesterday of Black-headed Gulls harassing a Great Crested Grebe juvenile, probably to try and pinch food. Interestingly, I also watched yesterday a juvenile Great Crested Grebe at Blackleach CP in Walkden, which was audibly begging for food but being ignored by a fairly distant adult. The whining juvenile was being trailed closely and doggedly by a Black-headed Gull too. One worries for the chances of this young bird which is presumably in the early days of making its own way in the world. Will it get enough food that it can hold on to, to be able to survive until it is a little more worldly and able to escape the attentions of its unwanted stalker!

Another explanation might be that the gull was actually after the bird itself? Many bird species higher up the food chain appear to have an awareness of weak, injured or naive birds and may look to take advantage of that as a source of food? I'm not knowledgeable enough to know if a juvenile Herring Gull would yet have such awareness or skill to catch and then kill another bird and if the House Martin was able to escape the attentions of the gull anyway this probably seems a less likely explanation then.

I'm not sure I've answered your question but your interesting observation shows us all how little we still understand about many fascinating aspects of bird behaviour.

Regards,

Bill.


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I was at the Albert docks today and saw a juv herring gull chasing a house martin.I am presuming it was after a mouthful of insects but I have never seen this before.any other ideas?
Cheers Chris.

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I watched the Common Terns on Horrocks last weekend passing fish between themselves and flying around with food,I,m only guessing but I think it,s a natural urge to catch more than they need and they would normally still have young to pander to,so a bad breeding year might explain this behaviour.

cheers geoff

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mm



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I had the same with two Common Terns at Pennington flash a few weeks ago. There's a couple of photos of it on my Flickr page.
I noted at the time that they were both adult birds and did find it a little strange.

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Today at Pearsons Flash I was counting through the ducks and noticed one of the juv Great Crested Grebes pick some weed up. It then proceeded to do part of a courtship display with an adult bird, which had almost moulted into winter plumage (this may be coincidental). I wondered whether anyone else has observed juvenile GC Grebes practice courtship displays at this time of year

Also something else I have never seen at this time of the year, both Common Terns I saw were adult birds and one of them caught a fish and gave it to the other (presumably a female), perhaps this is just pair bonding

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Over Brown Low (Ludworth) a Peregrine repeatedly swooped (not stooped) at a Kestrel. When it tired of this it swooped over the treetops whilst hanging its legs and deliberately brushed the top foliage with its talons. This was repeated about 6x. Could it be a tactic to drive out prey?

Cheers, John

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For the last two weeks a Magpie has been taking advantage of my pond fish. Sometimes after I have fed my Koi and Goldfish with a floating food pellet, the Magpie swoops down and eats any pellets that have failed to drop into the pond. The bird has also realised that if it is quick enough it can walk on the Water lily leaves while quickly flapping its wings and get to the pellets before they go soft or the fish eat them. Unfortunately for the Magpie I am not the only one to have noticed his pond dipping as when the Magpie came down to feed this evening after I put out some pellets for the fish a neighbours cat which was hiding behind my large Sedge plant made a grab for the bird. Both ended up in the pond which was lucky for the Magpie as the cat had to let go of it. Exit one very wet cat and after drying off and checking over the Magpie it managed to fly off. I bet it gives the pond a miss tomorrow

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Dave Thacker


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Steve Suttill wrote:

There's a big debate about open access to academic research going on at the moment - I await the result with interest.

Steve





Wonder how much they'll charge for the results then?

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Sadly, it's not the academics that get the money - it's the publishers (and probably their bankers ).

There's a big debate about open access to academic research going on at the moment - I await the result with interest.

Steve

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Hi Steve,

Many thanks for that. I wasn't aware of those two options you mention. As you say, there appears to be some potentially interesting papers on the subject but most do seem to come at a cost. I don't know what it is with these academics? - they're just not satisfied enough with being blessed with high IQs but they also want wealth as well! ...........whilst I have to try and get along with neither!

Cheers,

Bill.


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Fascinating stuff, Bill, with lots of food for thought

You mentioned looking at the BTO Birdfacts pages and right at the bottom of those pages are links to scientific papers via Google Scholar and Scirus. I had a quick look there but the papers which seem to have the most specific research on creches (I can't type accents ) are ones which you have to pay to view/download

Worth rooting around though - I've found loads of interesting FREE papers via this route whilst researching other species.

Steve

-- Edited by Steve Suttill on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 05:29:50 PM

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Have recently returned from a weeks holiday in North Wales - I stayed in Glan Conwy in a flat directly overlooking the River Conwy estuary - so had fantastic views of all the birds on and around the inter-tidal area. One species I haven't observed at close quarters during the breeding season is Shelduck and it was really fascinating to watch a good number of family parties and crèches and enjoy and marvel at their behaviour. Since my return I have tried to look through books and the internet to see how these crèches are formed but come up with conflicting information and nothing really definitive. Are these crèches formed passively by adults willingly handing over the care of their young to other adults? Is it therefore a case of "Would you be kind enough to just look after our little Shelley and Sheldon for a few months whilst we jet off for a few months for our annual moult holiday on the Wadden Sea"? Or do the parents just clear off and leave the young ducklings "home alone" and then these get "mopped up" by other willing foster parents? Or are the crèches formed aggressively? The reason I ask is that I observed one pair with 9 very small ducklings in not particularly close proximity to another pair with a single approx. 2/3rds sized duckling. The male from the larger family made a longish walk but in a deliberate beeline for the other male, with an aggressive neck extended, head down, hunched shoulder posture and tried to chase it away and despite managing to pull out a few tail feathers failed. In the same brief whirr of activity it then appeared to target the single juvenile and my impression gained was of an attempt to try and dislodge it from its parents but this too failed. I wondered if there might be some benefit to this pair to try and "capture" an older duckling? If anyone has any knowledge or pointers on where to look for further info on this subject I'd be interested to hear. Maybe there isn't one simple answer and all three methods are involved in crèche formation?

Another thing that crossed my mind is I wonder what factors are involved in which of the breeding adults stay and look after the crèches and which decide to leave on their moult migration? Presumably the successful adults that do remain behind still undergo moult - so why don't all breeding adults remain? Particularly so, given that I have just read that the survival rates for young is apparently lower in crèches than it is in family groups? It seems possibly a bit odd to me to invest so much time and effort into bringing young into the world to then have a strategy that then might appear to lessen their chances of making it to fledging. Or maybe I'm just missing something blindingly obvious!! Had a quick look at the excellent BTO Birdfacts website at http://www.bto.org/about-birds/birdfacts/find-species This suggests that for juvenile Shelduck survival rates sees approximately 17 out of every 100 birds making it to age 2. For another sea duck that crèches its young such as Eider - 33 out of every 100 survive the first year of life but for Tufted Duck and Mallard the figures for a similar period are 63 and 52 respectively.

Just a few other incidental bits whilst waffling on - it was nice to see for once a male duck taking some interest in rearing young, although from my limited observations much the strongest bond appeared to be between the female and their young. The young were almost always closest to the female, whilst she regularly barked out instructions and the young called back. When they came in to rest at high water time and the adults settled on the shoreline the 9 young firstly all tried to get underneath her for warmth and safety, the few that couldn't make it, as it was too overcrowded, then squeezed underneath the male. The male and very occasionally both adults were incredibly aggressive - sometimes both attacking potential threats and perhaps unwisely leaving any young unattended for a short while. I actually watched one male Shelduck attack a nearby Cormorant who was a bit sluggish in getting away and it actually managed to bring it down in the water!

Cheers,


Bill.



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The main highlight of a family day out to Bakewell on Tuesday, was watching a male Blackbird stealing cherries from a greengrocer's outside display.
We were stood near the shop, ( about 4 feet away) , when the offending bird flew down,landed on a pineapple ,totally oblivious to our presence , plucked a nice juicy cherry from the bunch,and preceded to fly off over the river to the trees on the large island !
We watched the Blackbird repeat this behaviour several times , over the next 20 minutes or so, despite it flying precariously close to a few passing vehicles ! ( feeding a late brood perhaps ? )
The only other avian interest , was provided by a female Tufted Duck, desperately trying to prevent her single tiny ducking , from being swept over the weir....

Cheers Chris

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At the water's edge on Sale WP today, I watched a Crow juggle with, and then swallow head first, a small fish. I presume the fish was already deceased, and washed up on the shore, rather than the Crow developing Kingfisher- type
fishing techniques.

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On Ludworth Moor 2 Little Owls perched in drizzle on a drystone wall. As the rain began in earnest they didn't seek nearby shelter but spread their wings wide with a belly down/head up posture and fluffed up their feathers. Some sort of feather cleaning technique perhaps.

Cheers, John

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Dave Thacker wrote:

A Magpie was catching and eating young froglets which were hiding in the grass next to my garden pond this evening.





The Magpies were eating tadpoles from our pond a few weeks back and often help themselves to frogs too.

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A Magpie was catching and eating young froglets which were hiding in the grass next to my garden pond this evening.

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Dave Thacker


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I have on several occasions observed young magpies chase each other up and down the branches of a tree in what can described as a playful manner.

Mike

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Do bird,s have fun?? promted by my better half a confirmed non birder (thank goodness) yours to discuss,I can only think of the crows in Dumbo and the vultures in Bedknobs and Broomsticks

cheers geoff

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mm



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I was out yesterday looking at a local piece of water, when a Grey Heron emerged from under the water. The Heron had been completely submerged and came out with a fish, part of which it dropped, before it flew onto a fishing platform. The water in question is still.

The Heron was a foot to 18 inches away from the bank when it emerged.

-- Edited by Karen Foulkes on Tuesday 19th of June 2012 07:49:42 PM

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Male whitethroat showing off display flight and then singing from the top of a bramble bush whilst puffing out throat and head feathers, seemed a bit late in the season but a little gem none the less.

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Fascinating observation - worthy of submitting to British Birds?

Do the grebes have chicks of their own? And the other Oystercachers - could they be the Brun Clough pair whose chicks seem to have been killed?

Steve

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At Castleshaw tonight, one of the 2 Oystercatcher chicks took to the water when an adult started alarm calling. The adult joined it swimming across the reservoir. The adult took flight after a while and the chick was joined by 2 Great Crested Grebes who flanked the chick and started leading it towards the centre of the reservoir much to the adults displeasure!

The adult went berserk and was joined by 3 other adult birds who mobbed the grebes whilst the chick escaped thier attention by diving for several seconds at a time. The adult birds eventually landed on the water and ushered the chick back to the bank!

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I was out today in Derbyshire watching Redstarts at their nest (babies pulling through the wet spell OK!) and was pretty confident that there were 3 adults feeding one brood; 2 males and a female. At the same site last year I saw pied flys doing the same thing, but has anyone seen this arrangement in Redstarts?
Thanks,
Joe

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Jackdaws do the same in Lyme park. They pluck hair from moulting red deer.

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A friend of mine was working on his stepdad's farm in Yorkshire during lambing and witnessed Starlings picking wool directly off the back of sheep to use as nesting material

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11 Woodpigeon feeding this evening on one Privet just outside Skitters Wood, tearing at the fresh leaves. A similar number of birds have been feeding on the same bush for the past few days - spending time loafing on and around it when not feeding.
In the past few years, similar sized gatherings of Woodpigeon have been attracted to one small Ash tree nearby, (when its foliage emerges later in the spring), even though there do seem to be similar trees in the vicinity.

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Over the last week I have been watching a pair of Magpies build a nest in a Birch tree at the end of my garden. It is very near to completion, just part of the roof needs building to finish it off. The female bird which has unusually short tail feathers and the male have both shared in the building, though the male bird spends at lot of time chasing the Wood pigeons, Doves and Blackbirds away from the tree and surrounding gardens.

At about 5.30 this evening I noticed the male carrying something like a small piece of mirror or shiny glass into the nest. I'm not certain what the item was but it reflected light. I have heard that Magpies like shiny objects as jewelry and spoons have been found in their nests.

So I tried a little test, I tore up some strips of silver foil and formed them into 6 different shapes and placed them onto the lawn in full view of the Magpies. It only took about 10 minutes before the male bird flew down and inspected 3 of the foil shapes. It picked up one and flew back to the nest and placed it inside, it then flew down and picked a second piece up but tore this one to bits while sat on my fence. It then picked up the third shape and put it inside the nest. At this point another Magpie flew into the birch tree and caused the male to defend his territory and female, lots of noise and chasing about. When the male had calmed down he seemed to have lost interest in the other 3 foil shapes still on my lawn.

I will be interested to see if they are still there tomorrow evening when I get home from work

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A pair of Goldcrest were busy feeding in conifers in our neighbour's garden today (a Leyland Cypress and a Scots Pine) - rapidly moving around they frequently made flycatching sorties, involving quite a bit of hovering. As the birds' searching involved a lot of rapid fluttering among the needles of small outer twigs, rather than moving around the main branches and gleaning food directly from the tree, is it possible that deliberate 'flushing out' of insects was taking place?

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The local Wythenshawe magpies provided some entertainment at work recently - maybe it was a squabble over nest sites, but two pairs of magpies had a face-off which resulted in two of the magpies being down on the lawn with the other two sat on top of them - it was just like tag team wrestling!

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Dave Thacker wrote:

I watched a Coal tit visit my garden feeders late this afternoon. The bird would fly to the feeder, pick up a sunflower heart and quickly fly into the large Conifer growing next to the feeders. It did this every 45 seconds or so. It was only when I got closer and watched it through my binoculars that I realised the bird was placing the hearts into the nest box which I have put in the Conifer.
When the bird flew off I used my small endoscope to see what was in the nest box. It had a couple of peanuts, 6-7 Black sunflower seeds and more than 15 sunflower hearts all mixed together in the bottom of the box.





That's a super story, Dave. I wonder if one of the Coal Tit I saw yesterday was hoarding stuff? It skimmed my head as it went from a small feeding area in the farm on Clifton Lane and disappeared behind a brick wall with something in its beak, where the hedgerows are alive with birds and likely candidates to steal his stash!

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Hi Paul

Your probably right as the Coal tit is outnumbered by at least 5 Great tits which visit my garden and one of them is bound to see whats going on.

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Dave Thacker


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Dave Thacker wrote:

I watched a Coal tit visit my garden feeders late this afternoon. The bird would fly to the feeder, pick up a sunflower heart and quickly fly into the large Conifer growing next to the feeders. It did this every 45 seconds or so. It was only when I got closer and watched it through my binoculars that I realised the bird was placing the hearts into the nest box which I have put in the Conifer.
When the bird flew off I used my small endoscope to see what was in the nest box. It had a couple of peanuts, 6-7 Black sunflower seeds and more than 15 sunflower hearts all mixed together in the bottom of the box.



They won't be there for long when the local Great Tit sees him doing it! I have two Coal Tits visit my feeders and the Great Tits just watch and steal what the Coal Tits try to hide. Strange really, as the Great Tits can get all they need from the feeders themselves - and with a lot less effort!



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I watched a Coal tit visit my garden feeders late this afternoon. The bird would fly to the feeder, pick up a sunflower heart and quickly fly into the large Conifer growing next to the feeders. It did this every 45 seconds or so. It was only when I got closer and watched it through my binoculars that I realised the bird was placing the hearts into the nest box which I have put in the Conifer.
When the bird flew off I used my small endoscope to see what was in the nest box. It had a couple of peanuts, 6-7 Black sunflower seeds and more than 15 sunflower hearts all mixed together in the bottom of the box.

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The last 3 days there has been a carrion crow feeding on a small patch of grass in the middle of a housing estate. on sunday in pouring rain it was feeding well on worms that were near or on the surface, but the thing that got my attention was every 20 seconds or so between feeds it would call out, there were 2 distinctly different calls. monday when i passed it was feeding and today it was perched in a tree which is growing on the patch of grass, was it calling to other crows to let them know about the food supply or was it defending its new found meal ?. any ideas.

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John,

There are hatches of flying ants every year, but have never seen this before. Also, it was only 8.30 a.m. and I had witnessed no ants whilst driving or walking from my car into work. Letting my thoughts wander a little, I was inclined to believe that it was adults showing their young how to pick insects off the tops of trees in the Congo where there is dense jungle and the usual hawking methods are not as practical. Well I can dream (it's better than working too hard)!!!


Andy

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Charles Coutts wrote:

I observed the same behavour in Wythenshawe Park,but my birds were Swallows.
most of the actions were done by juviniles,for a millimetre of a second they seemed to stop in mid air,and peck at the leaves.




Massive flying Ant hatching yesterday,so every tree was covered in them,easier for the swallows and house martins to just pick em off the leaves

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I observed the same behavour in Wythenshawe Park,but my birds were Swallows.
most of the actions were done by juviniles,for a millimetre of a second they seemed to stop in mid air,and peck at the leaves.

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I saw something yesterday which I don't think I've seen before. It was 8.30 a.m. and from my office window I noticed 20+ of the nesting house martins wheeling around a very tall tree. Nothing strange there. But then I noticed they appeared to be picking insects from the leaves, some even landing for a second or two. They all seemed to be doing it and it went on for about ten minutes. After that, they all dispersed, and that was it, hardly a bird came near the tree all day. I'm quite sure that the first young of the year were on the wing, as numbers had certainly jumped over the weekend, and I wonder if adults were in some way teaching them what they had to catch and were starting with 'sitting targets', so to speak.

Anyone else seen this before?

Cheers,

Andy

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Andy, I witnessed a very similar thing last year on my neighbours car. A dunnock would persistently 'attack' its own reflection in the wing mirror of his car. I watched it do this every day for about a week or so. Very amusing to watch!! Probably quite stressful for the bird though!!

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I experienced something today that I had only read about before. I went for a walk having parked up in a lay-by off the Glossop Rd above Etherow C.P., and was away about an hour. As I returned and saw my car from about 50m away, I was aware of some movement near the drivers side door. I then saw it was a couple of birds, and upon raising my binos saw two blue tits frantically attacking my wing mirror. I got closer and could see that they were obviously seeing their reflections, and it was driving them mad. Sometimes they would look over the top of the glass, think the bird had gone, then look back into the mirror and start again. Once, I'm sure they thought the other bird was the image they were seeing, and they flew at each other and fluttered to the ground before seemingly thinking, 'Oh, it's you!' and then flying back up to attack the mirror again. I was able to walk right up to the back of my car without them noticing before I got fed up of waiting and moved into sight, whereby they flew up into a nearby tree to scold me. I checked the mirror and there were no food items that might have been drawing their attention. It was also evident that they had been doing this for sometime as there were a few droppings around the area, and the mirror was covered in the sort of powder that comes off birds when they hit my patio window. There even seemed to be a couple of small patches of blood. It certainly looked like it anyway. I thought robins would fight to the death and attack their own shadows, but I didn't think blue tits could be that violent.

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A colleague at work reminded me of an incident last year. I was in the driving cab assessing a driver on a Crewe to Manchester train.

The train was running express at about 90mph when a small flock of woodpigeons took flight from the track in front of us. Most of the woodys flew into the adjacent fields but one individual tried to out run the train. Just before it hit the windscreen and met it's messy end, it layed an egg which smashed on the windscreen moments before said ex Woodpigeon.



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Interesting article on BBC website tody about Ravens and their stress levels!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9390000/9390840.stm

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