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.
There is compelling evidence that at least two raptor species – the Brown Falcon and the Black Kite – act as propagators of fire within the Australian savanna woodlands and perhaps in other similar biomes elsewhere
In December 1961 an important meeting took place in the sand hills at Lee Point in Darwin that led to the formation of the Northern Territory Council for Aboriginal Rights. Its first President was Jacob Roberts and first Secretary Davis Daniels, two Roper River (now Ngukurr) men. Two well known Darwin members of the Communist Party Brian Manning and Terry Robertson were also elected as Assistant Secretary and Vice President respectively.
Is our landscape one shaped by humans and weather forces or might other agents - like birds - be in part responsible for the spread of fire across our landscapes? There are more questions here than answers...so far.