Good Night Larry!

Last night I knew I would be busy just when it got dark, so I went our ten minutes earlier than normal and called out goodnight to all our birds.

First I called goodnight to Vicky magpie and family, and got back a curroo from a long way off. Then I called Larry and Harry our grey butcherbirds, and they chortled back from way across the gully. When I answered them, I saw all five of their family, mum, dad, and the three kids, rise as a group out of a tree on the opposite side, do a circle in the sky as they called out en masse, and then they settled back down into the tree. Gitie and I have noticed that the birds love to know that their human friends are thinking of them, and they love to show you where they are and what they are doing. I find this all the more remarkable, as it must be important for them not to be spotted by the night birds such as owls, who might pick them off in the dark if they knew where they were settling for the night.

Luckily, the grey butcherbirds seem to have better low-light vision than the pied butcherbirds and the magpies, as they are always willing to stay longer at dusk while the daylight fails. One of the kids, Darry, loves to come to the mulberry tree, which the pied butcherbirds usually 'own' in the bright daylight, and loudly proclaim his ownership of the tree—but only after Freddy and his pied butcherbird family are safely in bed for the night!

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