A Very Clucky Visitor is Nesting in a Bucket!
One of Australia’s most beautiful songbirds may be calling around your area right now.
The Grey Shrike-thrush, also known as a Grey Thrush or a Joe Wicky in Tasmania, has a beautifully clear and melodious, rhythmic song.
The call of the Grey Shrike-thrush varies throughout its range and between individual birds. Their common calls include ‘pip-pip-pip-pip-hoee’ and ‘pur-pur-pur-kwee-yew’ and a sharp ‘yorrik!’
In the east of Australia, Grey Shrike-thrushes are not shy at all. They feed and nest in gardens, parks and even very close to homes and sheds. They love to drink water that’s left out for them and can even become quite tame.
These birds have been known to nest in potted-plants, amongst rafters on building sites, in milk crates, in garages, and also in a bucket hung up in a tree. They’ll nest almost anywhere they can!
Now that it’s July, Grey Shrike-thrushes will be looking for a mate and breeding. They build a bowl-shaped nest out of thin strips of bark, plant fibres and grasses, which they line with very fine plant roots.
It takes about 17 days for the eggs to hatch, and the parents can be seen taking turns sitting on the eggs to keep the winter chill away. Once the chicks hatch, they are looked after by their parents for another 17 days before they fledge.
It is not unusual for Grey Shrike-thrushes to have one to three (or even five if there is enough food) clutches in a breeding season. So if these birds build a nest near you, you could be enjoying their company again and again as they come back to raise new chicks.
In northern and western Australia, the Grey Shrike-thrush is a bit more shy. Listen out for them in undisturbed bushland and in any kind of forest. Look for them high up amongst the tree branches, or even hopping vigorously along the ground.
Put out a container of clean water in your garden to attract a range of birds and lizards. You could also try putting some improvised nestboxes (think: buckets, empty pots) around your place. You may just attract some very interesting visitors!
DID YOU KNOW?
Grey Shrike-thrushes will try to impress or fight off their own reflection if they see it in a mirror.