The alarm calls of birds are worth paying attention to. Often they signal the arrival of a predator, such as a goshawk or falcon, or the discovery of a potential threat, like a Boobook Owl or Yellow-footed Antechinus. At this time of year they are frequently directed at cuckoos, recently arrived as migrants. Cuckoos are brood parasites, using the nests of unwary hosts in which to lay their eggs. While the hosts are good at directing their ire at the adult cuckoos, they are not so good at spotting the results of their cunning plans – once laid, the cuckoo egg sits undetected in the nest and when they hatch the young are treated as their own by the unwitting host. It’s a great strategy!
This Yellow-tufted Honeyeater was one of a small flock calling noisily when a Fan-tailed Cuckoo intruded into their territory. Fan-tailed Cuckoos commonly parasitise thornbills, scrub-wrens and fairy-wrens but, gauging by this reaction, honeyeaters are not immune.