Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'Scruffy' our friendly Butcher Bird

I've been having E-mail debates recently with a group of people from Brisbane, and as far away as Colorado and Florida about butcher birds and what they look like. So I doug up this picture of 'scruffy' a butcher bird who visited us every day with his family for a little mince meat, 'Scruffy' was very trusting and let us hand-feed him but not the rest of his flock.
Then one day they stopped coming for a year. The following year they returned again for another season and that was it. We have not seen them for over a year.

I am hand-feeding 'scruffy' the butcher bird 

18 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen these birds before.
    Sydney - City and Suburbs

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  2. Bill

    I have a feeling that this "butcher" bird picture is going to be famous. It certainly has gone off to far away places for verification of what is and what isn't an Australian "butcher" bird. I am looking forward to seeing the Colorado (US) and Alberta (Canada) versions!
    Maybe your "scruffy" migrated to one of these places to get away from those wretched "Indian Minas"?????
    Cheers
    Colin (HB)

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  3. He looks a nice little fellow. We have been hand feeding Magpies for years, family after family. They make good pets, you can go away on holidays and don't have to arrange anything for them. We have NEVER been swooped upon. Even Magpies don't bite the hand that feeds them.

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  4. never seen one before - look tame - why are rthey called that?

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  5. What a funny shot. Never heard of such a bird. Let us know if there are news...

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  6. Scruffy is a Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus).

    Butcherbirds are aggressive pedators -- hence their name. Because they prey on small birds (e.g. wrens), I chase them away.

    Not my favourite bird.

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  7. Oops... I meant predators.

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  8. Good work, Vicki.
    OK - so now we may be getting somewhere.
    The "Grey Butcher Birds" are really outback birds, so what are the "Black and White", the so-called Qld versions or as I have been told the Coastal Qld. version, which looks like a bird, 1/2 way sized between the size of a magpie and a pee-wee. The bird shown is "black, white and grey" - maybe a combination of the two varities?
    They are "predator" birds and are vicious - well the country version, west of the Great Divide are.
    Strange that some of the commentators have never heard of them?
    Any more information from anyone?
    Cheers
    Colin (HB)

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  9. There is a Pied Butcherbird, which is black-and-white and smaller than a magpie but larger than the Grey Butcherbird. Is that the bird you're talking about?

    We have the Grey Butcherbirds here and while we're rural, we're not outback. Though I have seen them in the Flinders Ranges in SA, too.

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  10. P.S. The adult Grey Butcherbird has a black crown and face. Scruffy is definitely one of these.

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  11. How can anyone say they're vicious. Scruffy and his family were adorable creatures. I miss them but Diane isn't she didn't like the mess they made over our outdoor furniture. What's a little white paint I say!

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  12. They're not called butcherbirds for nothing. :-)

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  13. Yes Vicki they are NOT called butcher birds for a "no real reason". I think his "Scruffy" was a misfit or a very disoganised bird!
    They were all to be seen when I visited SA in the Burra region, but they were of the grey variety of the outback countryside. Still no comments on the real black and white, magpie v's pee wee variety, the so-called Qld Coastal version? "Scruffy", the adorable, was certainly not one of them.

    Colin

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  14. You know where they went? They went to my brother's place on the Gold Coast where there are lots of rats.

    http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2009/08/feeding-birds.html

    You have to read his story.

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  15. The Pied Butcher bird was very familiar to me when growing up in the Hunter Valley of NSW. In size it was between a maggie and a peewee but had a much thicker beak. From memory it also moved differently.

    http://cms.jcu.edu.au/discovernature/birdscommon/JCUDEV_005237

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  16. Nothing like what we call a butcher bird (or shrike) here except for the color maybe.

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  17. I've never seen one before, but that is an amazing picture. I would love to be able to do that!

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  18. I have a family of 5 that visit us daily. both the adults and their first baby they had in spring 2009 which has just changed its colour from brown and white to black and white.

    they then had another 2 babys in spring 2010, so now we have the five of them show up and sing for me to come and feed them.
    one of the new babys has actually hopped onto my arm and sits there !!! will be getting the wife to obtain pictures of this as well as video footage to post on youtube in the not too distant future !!
    this same baby also resorts to hopping in to the house to say hello to us when he wants a feed !!!
    awesome little birds they are !

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