BIRD SOUNDS and the vital role of the Mickey Bird

Listen to the outdoor sounds of your birds, as well as the neighbourhood ones, and take note of warning calls, the "family time" calls, the soothing sounds made from a parent to its young, the carolling of a group, the young birds "learning to speak", etc

With adult birds, you will probably already know their respective calls. Who DOESN'T know the laugh of an adult kookaburra, or the incessant "Aarrk, aarrk" of a Crow? But have you heard all of the other sounds that kookies and crows make? There are many. If you have these birds nearby, or in care, spend some time listening to all of their repertoires.

Did you see the movie Predator? I recall reading that the "chuckle" the Predator made while pondering his next move, was actually a recording of a Crow. I have heard these sounds often coming from crows in my care. This "chuckle" is a very soft, private call between two crows. If you are not close by, you wouldn't even hear it.

We carers have an opportunity to hear these up-close sounds that the public seldom gets to hear. Listen to baby birds, as they grapple with "learning to speak" - their attempts will put many smiles on your face.

Warning calls
The Mickey birds (or Noisy Miners) are the watchdog of the skies (or, if you like, the "nosey neighbour" - they know EVERYTHING about what is happening in their area). When they see danger, they tell EVERYONE about it (their call is a VERY high-pitched, fast, very loud peeping, with many of them joining in). They also form an army (or air force) to attempt to chase the intruder away. So, when they sound the alarm in your area, go take a look. If you don't, your birds could pay the ultimate price !!

They could be warning of a snake, a neighbourhood cat, possum, or other intruder. Sometimes it will be no big deal to you - at other times, it could be VITAL that you act!! They will see a snake in the long grass far quicker than you (or your children) will!!

Though many people don't like Noisy Miners, they play a supremely important role in keeping our wildlife (including you and me) safe!!

Watch what YOUR birds do whenever the Mickeys give that call - they will remain very quiet and still until the shrieking stops - and life can go on once again.

If you didn't see danger on the ground, maybe there was a raptor circling high overhead, just looking for a warm lunch!! Observe.....

Pay attention to Mickeys at release times too - they know EVERYONE in their area. If you have brought a youngster to an area for release, they (like tow-truck drivers at an accident) are usually the first on the scene. The Mickey's reaction to your charge tells you what you need to know.

If your bird is NOT in the right area, they will endeavour to drive it off - by dive-bombing, with beaks snapping, or will even land on the cage and attempt to attack it.

What they are saying is "THAT bird does not belong in these parts!!" Pay attention...

If you have the right place, there will be no snapping beaks - the Mickeys accept that this bird is from that area, and you can release it back into its home turf. This behaviour from the Mickeys applies to their own kind as well.

Use these "nosey neighbours" to your advantage. They really do know what is going on!