This week’s Bird of the Week is a good example to me of an interesting phenomenon regarding my and perhaps others’ perception of how common a bird is. In some ways, I think that the Collared Palm Thrush has taught me the meaning of “Locally Common,” which is the status assigned to it according to my field guide. For three years I saw these birds daily in my front and back yards. I became quite familiar with them and rather took them for granted.
Once on a bird walk at a local farm with the ornithological society there were some folks making quite a big deal about seeing a Collared Palm-Thrush and I really could not understand it. Based on my experience at the time (the fact that they were in my yard), I had thought they could be found everywhere.
It was only after I moved to a different house in a nearby suburb, that I realized that they are not, after all, found everywhere. Despite the fact that there are palm trees in many of my neighbors’ yards, I do not see or hear any of these thrushes in my new suburban yard, which is only a few kilometers from my old yard. I am pretty sure that the only times that I have seen these birds was on that one walk and in my old yard. I don’t recall seeing it on any other trips to the bush or in any other suburban areas.
Palm-Thrushes depend on some sort of Palm tree for breeding, thus their common name. This is apparently more for nest-building reasons than for food. According to Trevor Carnaby’s Beat About the Bush: Birds, they eat mainly insects and other invertebrates but are omnivorous, occasionally eating fruit and other plant material.
Hyphenae and Borassus palms are two of the palm trees listed as suitable habitat for this bird. (Palm tree photos from Wikipedia)
I liked this photo that Jonathan took at the water-tower near our yard. This Palm-Thrush appears to building a nest and seems to be quite choosy about his material. I found it interesting that he would prefer some sort of colorful synthetic material over more natural materials. I don’t know why that would be but at any rate it made a nice photo. Another beautiful bird.