A post that looks at our research into firespreading raptors in the Top End of Australia ... and beyond.
This has major ramifications for land use and conservation across Australia's northern savannahs and potentially beyond. Changed fire regimes by Europeans from those practiced for millennia by Aboriginal people wrought dramatic changes on the Australian landscape, a factor which imperilled (and continues to imperil) the existence of many native species. How do we account for birds as another potential fire vector?
Fire provides the opportunity for pyrophilic behaviour by some birds. Brown Falcons perch at the fire-front waiting for grasshoppers, frogs, snakes, lizards and small mammals. Whistling Kites and particularly Black Kites, Milvus migrans, spectacularly hawk around the curtain of flame, preying on grasshopper, cockroaches and other small fleeing animals. Local Aboriginal people believe that Brown Falcons and Black Kites set fires by carrying burning sticks to new locations and drop them into dry grass on unburnt grounds.
Anecdotal historical reports from qualified observers support the hypothesis that this is a hitherto-undocumented tool-using behavior that, if verified to satisfy the standards of Western ecologists, will have important ramifications for understanding pyrophytic landscape evolution as well as human-bird relationships.
This is a guest post by author Greg Barron that was first published at his website in October 2015. This is the store at Ngukurr (pronounced Nooker) Community on the banks of the Roper River in the NT. This settlement, home to around 900 people, was the origin of a rock band that Andrew McMillan […]
What was it about a style of music which migrated from the Delta to the South Side of Chicago and beyond in the forties and fifties, that enabled it to capture the hearts and minds of young men in locations as disparate as Canvey Island and Ngukurr throughout the rest of the century?
These phonebooths provide a place to record thoughts, alliances, wishes and important information. And despite the rise of mobiles and the internet -- both enthusiastically adopted in the bush -- phonebooths remain an important means of communication for those who've run out of credit or can't afford or can't access a mobile.
Last night Warren Mundine proposed new military-style interventions into Aboriginal communities to provide health services. Chips Mackinolty shows that in the NT, community-controlled health services are the key to efficient and effective than health service provision.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu came to Barunga, captured our hearts and left us all better for it. My report from day 2 of the 2013 Barunga Festival.
Great fun, music, sport and culture under northern skies at the Northern Territory's annual Barunga Festival. My report from day one.