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Sad end for unidentified bird, Campbelltown, NSW, Aust.

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Old Monday 27th December 2010, 02:52   #1
SweetPetunia
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Sad end for unidentified bird, Campbelltown, NSW, Aust.

Hello everyone.
This is my very first post but I wish it could have been for a happier reason...

We have bushland behind our house and always have birdsong during the day but, sadly, late on Christmas Eve we found this little bird in our front yard. His leg was askew but otherwise unharmed. Being Christmas Eve and with no veterinarians to be available for 4 days we have tried to keep the little guy going with garden worms that he greedily ate for the first day and a half. He stopped eating yesterday afternoon and was dead this morning. We are distraught and are desperate to find out what type of bird it was so that we can be prepared in the future.
If anyone can help we would all appreciate it.
Sorry the photos are not too terrific...
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Old Tuesday 28th December 2010, 06:38   #2
stonechat1
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No idea, sorry.
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Old Tuesday 28th December 2010, 08:07   #3
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It looks like a european blackbird... do you have those introduced there?
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Old Tuesday 28th December 2010, 11:36   #4
colonelboris
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Looks pretty good for a Blackbird - I've seen a few out west and the only other thing that sprang to mind might be a Common Myna chick, but not nearly enough yellow.
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Old Tuesday 28th December 2010, 15:11   #5
Chosun Juan
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Hmmmm............definitely not a bird of prey :P

'fraid its difficult to be more helpful than "hard to say" (especially if its a juvenille of something)

I wouldn't think its one of the sky rats (blackbird, starling, indian mynah), nor (maybe) one of the native noisy miners - as all have yellow(ish) beaks - hopefully its not something needed like a brown songlark etc.

Are you in a suburban street area, or a more rural block area? and is the spoon 'dessert' or 'tea'?!
Do you think it came to grief through collision (car, window) or some predator (butcherbird, cats etc)?
Was it intact or missing part of tail etc?

If you don't have any good bird id books - I can recommend two excellent ones which I've used and found invalueable over the last decade or so - both photo based:
1. "Australian Birds simply classified" by Donald and Molly Trounson - mine is 4th ed. 1996, published by National Book Distributors and Publishers (236 pgs, 864 photos + plates, foolscap size <$50)
2. "Birds of Australia" - Readers Digest Photographic Field Guide by The Australian Museum, Jim Flegg with Steve Madge - revised ed 1995 (367 pgs, 840 photos, A5 size ~$35

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Old Tuesday 28th December 2010, 20:51   #6
SweetPetunia
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

Chosun Juan - to answer your questions - we live in the suburbs but we're surrounded by bush and a very large area that used to be an army camp and firing range. It's full of hills, ravines, caves, eucalypt trees and cockatoos. Its also home to a colony of koalas.
The spoon in the photo is a teaspoon, sorry, I should have pointed that out:-/
The only injury the bird had was the broken leg so I wondered if it might have fallen from its nest. It did try to fly while we had it in the house but it wasn't very good, achieving only a short distance and virtually no height at all. It still had some of the baby fluff of newly hatched birds, and its tail seemed really short for its body but it wasn't damaged and there didn't look like any feathers were missing/pulled out.
We tried googling images but the closest was a cuckoo - could that be likely? We do have them around from time to time...
Thanks for the reference book suggestions - I will definitely see what I can find.
Thanks again.
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Old Wednesday 29th December 2010, 08:50   #7
Chosun Juan
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That extra info helps SweetP, with that sort of veg, thankfully probably not a brown songlark, it's always hard to id the poor little buggers once the life has gone out of them - they seem to lose their (insert species name)"_____ness".

your call of one of the smaller cuckoo's is a fair one, although I don't know enough about juvenilles and immatures to discount some of the other suggestions as well - I have a hard enough time with the fully plumaged adults!
I think these type of things often fall into the generic category LBJ (little brown job!), perhaps someone out there is more familiar with the possibilities - very strange shape though unless the tail feathers hadn' t fully developed yet.

Hope you get an answer soon..........not knowing is enough to drive anyone crazy

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Old Wednesday 29th December 2010, 09:02   #8
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It looks plausibly like a European Blackbird to me.
http://www.thewesternisles.co.uk/Ass...-fledgling.jpg

Its generally better to leave fledgling birds where they are - so that their parents can feed them. If necessary put them in or under cover to protect them from cats.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=36564
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Old Wednesday 29th December 2010, 12:39   #9
Parula6
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I'm leaning toward blackbird, too. I think the feet eliminate a cuckoo, which are zygodactylic (two toes forward and two back).
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Old Wednesday 29th December 2010, 14:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parula6 View Post
I'm leaning toward blackbird, too. I think the feet eliminate a cuckoo, which are zygodactylic (two toes forward and two back).
Indeed. The morphology is all wrong for cuckoos and the bird's colouration only superficially resembles a young Brush Cuckoo which can be very spotty. Blackbird is as good a guess as any.
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Old Thursday 30th December 2010, 08:32   #11
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Thank you everyone! I've ordered a few reference books and even if I can identify this poor little fella at least I can enjoy our backyard visitors more informatively in future.

I really appreciate your interest.
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Old Thursday 30th December 2010, 09:00   #12
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If you're looking for a field guide, I wrote a mini-review of the four most popular guides:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=188300
Cheers,

Tony
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