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Re: odd behaviour in juncos

I have heard reports of birds displaying mobbing behavior after the mobbee 
has left the area.  I've even been told that birds will return to a mobbing 
site for several days, displaying signs of agitation.

HOWEVER, this is all anecdotal, third-hand kind of reporting.  I've never 
taken the time to search the scientific literature for published evidence.


At 04:42 PM 11/25/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>Dear Folks:
>Odd observation today here at the farm, on which I need input.
>As I approached a young dense stand of white pines, I heard many S.C. Junco
>alarm calls and saw the birds fluttering about and in and out of the pines
>in one area of about 30 feet square. I immediately assumed that this flock
>of about 40 Juncos was mobbing a small owl. Tried and tried, but could not
>find it, with very agitated juncos coming within five feet of me. Finally
>gave up and retreated about 30 feet to watch the show, with the Juncos
>continuing the commotion. There were ONLY Juncos in this "mobbing" flock.
>A small 20-bird mixed chickadee-kinglet-wren-bluebird flock approached
>through the woods, coming eventually to within 100 ft. of where the Juncos
>continued to "mob" something. I have never known a chickadee or wren to turn
>down the opportunity to scold anything, but they did, with no noticeable
>interaction between the two flocks. The mixed flock moved off.
>I tried again to locate the "owl" or whatever, but the Juncos had no real
>focus to their scolding activity, and I could not find anything, which,
>considering how dense the cover was, certainly doesn't mean that "something"
>was not there.
>This "mobbing" continued for about 45 minutes after I first encountered it,
>with the juncos slowly dispersing.
>Any suggestions? If the Juncos were not mobbing, what was going on? Why a
>one-species flock mobbing? Why did the chickadees and one Carolina wren
>ignore the chatter? I cannot remember seeing anything quite like this in
>40-odd years of birding.
>James Coman
>Piney Creek

Norman Budnitz, nbudnitz@duke.edu
919-684-3592 (day), 919-383-0553 (eve),919-660-7293 (fax)

(work) Biology Dept, Duke Univ, Box 90338, Durham NC 27708
(home) 4115 Garrett Drive, Durham NC 27705

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