A blog about Lamb Island in Moreton Bay, Queensland – a unique little paradise under forty kilometres as the seagull flies from Brisbane CBD.
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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Meet the family.

These are curlews, or bush stone-curlews, or bush thick-knees, or if you're a real bird nerd, Urhinus Grallarius. There are lots of them on Lamb Island and even though they're supposed to be shy, they seem to have the attitude that they own the place. The breeding couple in the pictures above visit us in the evening and expect mince, and when they had their babies they brought them around to meet us. The picture at right shows the chicks getting ready to be transported – they tuck themselves in under the adult's wings and the adult carries them (no, while walking, not while flying). When disturbed/threatened, mature curlews freeze and hope like crazy nobody notices them – but what's fascinating (and frightening the first time one sees it) is that when there's potential danger from, say, a kookaburra, an adult gives some kind of inaudible-to-mere-human-ears signal and the chicks immediately collapse into limp heaps and don't move a muscle until they get some other inaudible 'okay'. The first time we saw a chick do this we really thought it had suddenly died. You can find out more about curlews here.
(Apologies for the softness of the pictures – low evening light and the damn birds weren't freaked-out enough to freeze.)