All this week, it’s been the same, terrible ordeal. I scurry from tree to tree, cowering under the spreading canopies of the golden ash flanking the driveway. And, every time, the Butcherbird comes.
As the folk at Birdlife Australia note:
“With its lovely, lilting song, the Grey Butcherbird may not seem to be a particularly intimidating species.”
“However, with its strong, hooked beak and its fierce stare, the Grey Butcherbird is not a bird to be messed with.
“When a nest or newly fledged chick is around, if you venture too close, a butcherbird will swoop by flying straight at your face, sometimes striking with enough force to draw blood, and each swoop is accompanied by a loud, maniacal cackle.”
– Birdlife Australia
They’re not joking. Watch the video but don’t show the kids before bed.
An aggressive hunter, the Butcherbird gets its name from a grisly habit of impaling or hanging prey in the fork of a tree. Add that to your list of scary Australian native animals!
There might just be one of those maniacal cacklers in your backyard, too. It’s one of the species that regularly makes the charts in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, which runs from October 23 to 29.
Last year, the Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner and Australian Magpie topped the list of Australia’s most counted birds.
It’s a fantastic list for one small part of the farm:
|Australasian Grebe||Australasian Shoveller||Australian Magpie|
|Australian Pelican||Australian Shelduck Duck||Australian Wood Duck|
|Black Swan||Black-fronted Plover||Blue-billed Duck|
|Brown Thornbill||Cattle Egret||Chestnut Teal Duck|
|Common Blackbird||Common Starling||Crimson Rosella|
|Dusky Moorhen||Eastern Rosella||Eastern Yellow Robin|
|Eurasian Coot||European Goldfinch||European Skylark|
|Galah||Golden-headed Cisticole||Great (black) Cormorant|
|Great Egret||Grey Butcherbird||Grey Fantail|
|Grey Shrike-thrush||Grey Teal Duck||Hardhead (White-eyed) Duck|
|Hoary-headed Grebe||Laughing Kookaburra||Little Black Cormorant|
|Little Corella||Little Raven||Little Raven|
|Magpie-lark||Masked Lapwing Plover||Musk Duck|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Pacific (White-necked) Heron||Pacific Black Duck|
|Purple Swamphen||Red Wattlebird||Red-browed Firetail|
|Richard’s Pipit||Scarlet Robin||Silvereye|
|Spotted Turtle Dove||Striated Pardalote||Sulphur-crested Cockatoo|
|Superb Fairy-wren||Tree Martin||Welcome Swallow|
|White-eared Honeyeater||White-faced Heron||Willie Wagtail|
You can get involved too!
The new, updated Aussie Bird Count app lets you get involved and track birds anywhere—not just in your backyard but on the farm, at the park or the beach.
Join the count at aussiebirdcount.org.au.
The national total will be updated in real time and the app allows you to see which species are being seen in your local area.