24 September 2007

The Fiscal - the local neighbourhood terror

The Fiscal is one of the most widely distributed birds in the country and has adapted well to urban life. They feed on a variety of prey - generally anything is fair game for them. This one is a regular in the area and can often be seen sitting in the open, watching and waiting for his prey.

He also has the habit of terrorising our neighbours prize canaries. His trick is to scare them so that they flutter against the wire netting of the cage and then seizes them by the head and kills them. I know our neighbour would like to get rid of this guy because he is such a "pest", but what he does is not done with malicious intent.

The Fiscal is a predator, it's what he is programmed to do. Like all predators they also serves a useful role by getting rid of a lot of insect pests and by maintaining a balance in nature. An interesting habit of the Fiscal is they they create larders by impaling their prey on thorns or the barbs of wire fences.

A message to bird owner's - if you are going to cage birds make sure your cage is Fiscal proof - these birds play a useful role in the environment and I certainly like seeing them around the neighbourhood.


Anna said...

Hey Max send them over to my bird feeder, lol. I like the photo. Anna :)

david mcmahon said...

I'd never heard of the Fiscal. Is it like the shrike (also called the butcher bird?)

Max-e said...

Hi Anna
Your other birds would not like to share your bird feeder with this guy. He is very selfish and will chase them away.

Max-e said...

Hi David
Yes, it is a member of the shrike family. Sometimes called the Foscal Shrike, but in Roberts Birds of SA it is just called the Fiscal. I had forgotten some people do call it the butcher bird. The Latin name is Lanius Colaris.

karoline said...

i think the poor bird is just doing what he knows to do..my heart goes out to the caged canaries who only wish they could fly once again in the clear blue sky..


Max-e said...

Hi Karoline
I also hate seeing birds caged. The closed we came to caged birds were two artifial ones n a bamboo cage.