Two Local Records of Apostlebird

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Rod Hobson
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:03 am

Two Local Records of Apostlebird

Post by Rod Hobson » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:23 am


I was yarning with a friend recently from Flagstone Creek who said that he recently saw "Happy Jacks" in Helidon " two or three weeks ago". I quizzed him closely and am convinced that he was talking about Apostlebirds. Danny is a pretty good observer and works in central and western Queensland where he is familiar with the species. I just filed this away as an interesting but unconfirmed observation for our local area.

This morning I was having smoko with two fellow employees when one, James Haig, who is a good birder, told me that he had Apostlebirds in his house yard last weekend at Highfields. This instantly aroused my curiosity and brought to mind Pat McConnel's record of Apostlebird from his home yard earlier this year. I enquired further of James about this and he said that he has seen the species along Reis Road in Highfields on several occasions over the last few years but that last weekend was the first that he'd seen them at his residence. It certainly appears that Apostlebirds have set up permanent camp in Highfields now.

Another QPWS employee, Jacqui Brock was with James and me this morning. Jacqui lives in Helidon and said that she'd seen Apostlebirds feeding on the nature strip in Helidon on the weekend of 21/22.01.12, which, coincidentally was around the time that Daniel told me he saw the birds there.

I'm happy that Jacqui, James and Danny have got it right so some more local Apostlebird sightings to add to the TBO records. I should add that I questioned all three about the likelihood of the birds being Grey-crowned Babblers. Babblers are occasionally called Happy Jacks or Happy Families but these colloquail names are more commonly used for Apostlebirds in my experience. They have all assured me quite adamantly that they knew the diffence and I had to be diplomatic in convincing them that I 'was just making sure'.

Rod Hobson
Last edited by Rod Hobson on Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 9 times in total.

Pat McConnell
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:42 pm

Records of Apostlebirds

Post by Pat McConnell » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:35 pm

It was very interesting to read Rod's report on Apostlebirds. Up until about two years ago Kath and I would only see Apostlebirds in Kratzke's Road at Highfields - usually about six of them. In the last year or so they have become regulars in our yard in Forest Road. Three birds appear to be resident there now and even built a nest. These three birds are sometimes joined by another six that may stay for a day of so but then disappear. When the three locals built the nest in a Silky Oak they were often joined at the nest by the other six at which time there was much vocalising (which I have also noticed when White-winged Choughs are near a nest). The nest does not appear as though it has been used despite being regularly attended for the first few weeks.

Two babblers are also resident and these are sometimes joined by one or two larger groups of babblers. Once we had 17 in the yard at once. Visits by the larger groups are becoming less frequent and only one group of five has been visiting lately. I hope they are not slowly disappearing locally but I suspect this may be the case. Over the years I have found ten dead on local roads.

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