Scientists Have Proof Of These Aussie Birds Deliberately Starting Bush Fires

Scientists Have Proof Of These Aussie Birds Deliberately Starting Bush Fires

Scientists have suspected for quite a while that birds are fairly clever little b*****ds.

However recent reports suggesting that Ozzyland’s native birds of prey have harnessed fire as a tool to flush out their din dins could mean they’re only the second creature – after humans – to harness the hot stuff.

I’ve gotta be honest, the thought of a mean-as-f*** bird of prey swooping down on a dry scrub-forest with a flame-thrower in its claws, blasting the Prodigy and screeching like a harpy intent on setting the outback ablaze is a pretty frightening thought.

The fact that it’s happening here in Ozzyland though, that makes perfect sense. You see, apparently, Indigenous Australians have long held that our raptors do exactly what all these modern scientists are only now suggesting.

The black kite. A trouble-stater and punking instigator. Credit: Wikipedia

The black kite. Trouble-starter, punking instigator and twisted fire-starter. Credit: Wikipedia

To be clear, the exact suggestion – in line with eyewitness accounts of the feathered fire-demons – is that once a fire starts naturally, raptors like black kites and brown falcons use smouldering sticks and twigs to set nearby fields alight and turn up the heat on any of the cuddly little critters they munch on.

A couple of years back, ornithologist, Bob Gosford reported multiple accounts of this behaviour, but he was promptly told to stop being a dick by the rest of the scientific community. In response, he went and bird-scienced even harder to come up with even more reports.

The Brown Falcon: The bitch you hated, filth-infatuated...twisted firestarter. Credit: Wikipedia

The brown falcon.  The bitch you hated, filth-infatuated…twisted firestarter. Credit: Wikipedia

It seems that the good people of science found it a bit hard to get their heads around the fact that birds could be deliberately lighting fires in the hope of flushing out their prey. Fresh from his new research, Gosford says the whistling kite also practices the behaviour and has twenty more eyewitness report.

One bloke to give Gosford an eyewitness report was former fire-fighter Dick Eussen. One day Dick was hosing down a fire near Kakadu when he realised a second fire had started up on the other side of the road. 

There, watching the perimeter of the fire was a whistling kite with a smoking gun – I mean smoking stick – in its talons. Dick reckons him and his mates had to put out seven extra fires started by the birds.

The whistling kite. A self-inflicted, mind detonator, and of course, twisted fire-starter. Credit: Wikipedia

The whistling kite. A self-inflicted, mind detonator, and of course, twisted fire-starter. Credit: Wikipedia

The theory is that the birds learned the behaviour from watching animals run from fires caused by lightning in Northern Ozzyland. From there, they figured out that burning sticks could spread the fire. So much for bird-brained.

H/T: Iflscience.