Unusual Playmates - Butcherbirds and Noisy-Miners Play Tug-o-War
Did you know that baby birds of different species play games together?
Eddy and Freddy were the first pair of pied-butcherbird kids to grow up in our yard (Jan 2003). They looked like fluffy cotton balls, dipped in soft colour at one end, as they rolled over and played tug of war with each other. Absolutely the cutest pair of chicks, only a few weeks out of the nest. They looked like they were born to fulfil one creed - life was made for joyful, fun and play. And they were not going to waste a moment in any other thought.
Renu (born September 2002) was the juvenile noisy-miner about four months older than Eddy and Freddy. But in size Renu was much smaller than the butcherbirds. While Renu had plenty of friends in his own family (miners being cooperative birds), he could not resist the infectious joy of the butcherbirds. When Eddy and Freddy would tumble along the grass wrestling with each other, Renu would hop over to them wanting to join in. One day when Eddy and Freddy were playing tug-o-war with a twig, Renu came over for a look. Eddy picked up the twig and gave it to Renu. The three of them started to play together. They were best friends and we had months of the most delightful entertainment watching them play.
Interestingly neither Butch nor Cass (Eddy and Freddy's parents) nor Mr and Mrs Minnie (Renu's parents) had any problems with their kids interaction. They enjoyed it as much as we did. Renu had the advantage that he could play with both Pied-butcherbirds Eddy and Freddy as well as the grey-butcherbirds Larry and Harry. The two butcherbird species do not share the same territory, while the Noisy-miners territory overlapped both species. In the picture below Larry and Harry can be seen with Renu.