I write about an amazing thing about myna birds and hope someone has seen this before and/or knows about it.
We live in a ground floor apartment, with a large garden off the veranda, this is in Fiji.
Several months ago we befriended a wild kitten and began to feed it twice a day. We also feed the myna birds and some bull bulls.
A pair of young myna birds probably brother and sister have taken our veranda as their territory and patrol it daily chirping for some food, they bow to us and we bow back – a friendship sign we believe. When the cat turns up for food they make 2 load shrieks that must be an alarm call for a cat and they and all other birds take to the trees en-mass. They also have a separate alarm call for the hawks that fly over daily.
After a short time up to 15 myna birds and 10 bull bulls would congregate to try and get food, our 2 residents would try and chase them away but in doing so allowed the others to steal the food.
Within 3 weeks we noticed the 2 residents would issue a loud cat alarm and the other birds would leave in a hurry, however our 2 regulars would stay and eat the food, no cat arrived.
Every time we fed these 2 the others would arrive in seconds and they made the cat alarm call, basically they were calling WOLF.
A remarkable ploy by a myna we thought to chase away the competition.
Several more weeks of calling WOLF passed and then some of the bull bulls stayed to feed and other birds originally scared away would return quickly. A few more weeks and the WOLF call has no affect on any of the birds.
Often our tame (wild) cat watches the birds from the veranda and they just fly away without the alarm call when they see her
So 2 birds learned to use the alarm call to protect their food and the other birds soon learned the scam.
Anyone know about this?