Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos and pines

A thread on birding-aus today has been about the birds that live in (mainly) Australian Pinus radiata plantations.  That has given quite a bit of play to  Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos which dine quite happily on the cones of that species.

Before getting to their table manners here are three just hanging out on top of pines.
This one is doing serious eating of a greenish cone in April 2015.  It seems to me to be eating from the stem end first.
More recently they have been hanging round the area moving from windbreak to windbreak (the nearest large plantation is about 10km away) as the mood takes them.  A neighbour has reported up to 200 in a group of pines near her house.

Some of the cones they have eaten recently at our place appear to have quite old and thus look very frayed when discarded or dropped.
 Other cones are still very dense as in this example.
In the past I have known them to drop very large green cones weighing at least one kilogramme.  They seem to have little trouble in getting their beak into them, but do have trouble keeping a grip.

In some trees they seem to have been very messy eaters and the ground is littered with seeds that have just fallen from above.
Perhaps they are the subspecies C f onanii.  (For those not familiar with the story of Dorothy Parker's parrot, I refer you to Genesis 38:9 .)

They have still left some cones up in the trees so we will I suspect continue to get visits through the rest of Winter.
While they are most frequently found (usually by calls - they are not silent) in the  pines they will roost in our Eucalyptus meliodora.
When 40+ of them do this in the evening, there is no need for an alarm the following morning as they fly out to resume grazing.

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