Monday, 24 November 2014

Bizarre Tree Martin behaviour

On the Birdlife East Gippsland camp last week in the Omeo area, we observed Tree Martins picking up leaves and small pieces of straw from the road and flying around with the items for a short while before letting them fall to the ground. They were doing this in groups of two/three birds only a few metres from where we were standing on a gravel road. This happened for a good ten minutes. Some birds flew around us at a height of one to two metres then went back to the spot they had picked up the item. It almost seemed [anthropomorphically] that adults birds were teaching younger birds ... something!

We were fascinated.

Picking up straw
Take off. One each way
I find it very hard to catch martins and swallows in flight
Take off with leaf
Around the chicane we go
Other bird still on road in bottom left corner of image
Leaf still onboard

Geoff Park at Natural Newstead has observed similar behaviour in Fairy Martins just this last week.

Just magic. f8 and be there.

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