Live and let’s fly!

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Snapshot -

Though com­monly seen in a cage at granny’s house, wild budgeri­gars are usu­ally found in small no­madic flocks in the open en­vi­ron­ments of Aus­tralia.

How­ever, dur­ing times of drought, their main food sources, grasses, wither as sur­face temperatures climb to a crippling 65°C. The birds group to­gether to form su­per­flocks of up to sev­eral mil­lion in­di­vid­u­als and em­bark on a mass search for thou­sands of kilo­me­tres to search for ar­eas with enough wa­ter.

“Th­ese large flocks oc­cur pri­mar­ily due to safety in num­bers,” says Damien Farine, an or­nitho­log­i­cal re­search as­so­ciate at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford. “If there are few wa­ter­ing spots, then a preda­tor will just need to sit at one and wait for birds to ar­rive. One phe­nom­ena that hap­pens when groups be­come very large is that they com­pletely con­fuse, or daz­zle, the preda­tor. By be­ing in very large groups, in­di­vid­ual bud­gies have al­most no risk of be­ing pre­dated.”

The savvy birds have also been known to shadow kan­ga­roos, who dig for wa­ter in damp ground.

PHOTO: roland seitre/na­

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