[Hong Kong] 伯勞大餐 - 赤尾鶇 (Naumann's Thrush)

伯勞大餐 - 赤尾鶇 (Naumann's Thrush)

Chek Lap Kok 30 Dec 2012



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30/12/2012 13:49



A sad end indeed.

Amazing that a Rufous-backed Shrike could kill such a big bird.
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


After this tragic incident, no one would view a Shrike with the same sentiment again...!




So sad...


The Death of a Brave Bird

It was quite unbelievable that a lively bird could have met a sudden death in the hands of a Long-tailed shrike.

It was long established that any healthy bird is well equipped with survival skills, including evasive means to avoid the attack of a raptor. From all observation shrikes eat insects mainly, if I am not mistaken.

Anyhow, raptors only successively capture weakened or crippled birds because of the latters' age or weakened considtion like on the moment of reaching land, being ill or in great hunger.

The bird in question - a strong looking male Naumman's thrush - which until this morning had been feeding well in its new found wintering habitat - was found dead, possibly for the following conditions.
Either it had taken ill or sudden change of body condition. From the people present, I learned that there's been heavy baiting by human hands.

I now raise the following question. If improper feeding has induced  in the thrush a weakened body that it could not resist a much smaller bird's attack, what is the feeding for?

Do we just enjoy by leaving to us and in possession of some good photographic images of the bird, or do we want it to remain properly strong so that it can return to its breeding ground to reporduce, reuslting  in more of its
to be seen and enjoyed by us humans?

We possess thinking power to get what we want as well as adjust or correct our means, attitude and behaviour.

With a leaden heart I write the report. I now stop and mourn its death.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 30/12/2012 19:31 ]


So the actual cause of death is unknown? The shrike was seen to kill the thrush or is merely attending a corpse?

What bait was used and how was it restrained? Pins?


We only saw the Shrike eat the dead Naumann's Thrush, but we don't know the cause of death



I was there yesterday afternoon and the bird was behaving normally, alert, healthy, actively foraging in the leaf litter and seemingly very tolerant of human encroachment, moving away on foot when a photographer got too close (around 10 metres).  I saw no baiting, thankfully.  The bird was moving in and out of cover but eminently photographable- I even managed some pictures with my telescope and phone camera.

I am in no way critical of individuals yesterday, everyone was restrained, if a little anxious to get the best shot.  I think the anxiety leads to a gradual creep towards the bird to get the "best" picture, ultimately disturbing the bird.  

I certainly hope this was down to natural causes- and down to a shrike, not a human.



Interesting, I was there yesterday morning and the thrush was very INtolerant of humans, so much so that I didn't get anything other than record shots and was planning to go back tomorrow! No baiting going on yesterday morning either, not that I think baiting is necessarily harmful. On the other hand, live bait restrained with pins is clearly potentially deadly.

[ Last edited by hmartin at 30/12/2012 21:22 ]



No live bait restrained with pins was seen today



[ Last edited by Mon at 30/12/2012 22:42 ]



I was there too whole day yesterday. The location is within a roundabout and vehicular entrance is prohibited.

One person who arrived first ignored the locked gate and drove in his green Vitara by maneuvering through the verge area and parked at the centre of the site taking pictures of the thrush from his car. People who came in later line up orderly at the side of the Vitara (picture 1). There were about thirty people at peak time and no one was seen using bait. The thrust turned up sparsely.  

The airport traffic patrol team found the Vitara inside the roundabout and requested everyone to leave the site in 15 minutes (picture 2). The Vitara was driven away, all other people left and some of them returned later.

More people joined in the afternoon and soon there were again thirty people, lining up more or less at the same position as in the morning. Again no one was seen using bait. It rained and the thrush turned up, foraging in the leaf litter for food apparently with little success. One person creep a little close  (around 20 meters at least away from the thrust I supposed) and two or three persons followed suit, the thrush moved away.

The rain turned heavy from late afternoon, the wind blew stronger and the temperature dropped by ten degree Celsius at night.


1. The thrust might be sensitive to a large group of human (30 people);
2. The parking of a car inside the roundabout and the action of Airport Traffic Control might be the main reason for poor results in the morning;
3. The rain in the afternoon attracted the thrust coming out for food, disregard the presence of same number of human as in the morning;
4. The thrust might have gotten little food the whole day;
5. The weather turned worse and the temperature fell significantly, with rain and strong wind.
6. No one was seen using bait.

[ 本帖最後由 pasha 於 30/12/2012 23:55 編輯 ]


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30/12/2012 23:55


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30/12/2012 23:55



A vehicle makes a good mobile hide and causes less disturbance in the absence of other photographers, which was the situation early on yesterday. Unsignposted traffic restrictions and barriers which have been driven around on multiple occasions judging by the tyre marks are another issue. The thrush had been absent a long time by the time that Wilson Parking turned up to enforce their parking monopoly. It was presumably feeding elsewhere. This site is NOT a roundabout. It's an open area served by a sparsely used slip road from the main flyover. It sits slightly to the east of the North Interchange roundabout.

[ Last edited by hmartin at 31/12/2012 01:16 ]


Thanks Pasha who helps to post my response. I know this is an improper means and I won’t bother him anymore after this post.

We do make mistakes or wrong judgment and should confess and learn from our mistakes. Correct our behaviors and be honest. Forgive and give other chances to correct.

Yes, Interchange is a more accurate and appropriate description of the area which consists of round about and slip roads.

Hong Kong International Airport is very well managed in many aspects. Ground traffic control is one very good example thanks to the traffic control team setup. We rarely see traffic congestion or illegal parking on the airport island. Wilson Parking diversified and has gotton the contract to conduct ground traffic control, whether it itself is also a car park operator is irrelevant in exercising its duties in traffic control.

Absence of post signs is never accepted as an excise for unauthorized vehicular entrance, trespasser, or parking. No bank posts no robbery sign at its entrance for instance.

A response to S L Tai, we do have thinking power. Making good judgment needs evidences, not prejudices. I see people here keep attacking using bait and escalating that the improper feeding induces weakened body, and even reproduction etc. We simply cannot say eating rice induces cancer because people have cancer have eaten rice! If no one was seen using bait (far from using pin) and the bird was not seen taking bait, and with no dissection done, why do you suggest using bait cause its death?


"No bank posts no robbery sign at its entrance for instance". Damn, now I've got to stop robbing banks as well?

Barriers, much like petty rules and regulations, can continue to exist long after they cease to serve any useful purpose. Judging by the well worn track to the side of this barrier I'd say this is where the Wilson Parking militia park for their sandwiches and a fag.

The one thing we do agree on is the issue of baiting. I struggle to see how it causes a bird any harm/distress, assuming the food provided is of reasonable quality. Whilst it might be viewed as "cheating", luring with food, water or playback is widely used by bird photographers in many countries, especially the US. Frankly, truly high quality photographs of passerines are difficult to achieve without it. I'm thinking of high quality as a photographer would define it. Have a look at the bird gallery on Most of the really good passerine shots here are of birds lured to a prepared set up and shot with flash as fill.

[ Last edited by hmartin at 31/12/2012 11:21 ]


Just to clarify, I am not against putting food down for birds but given some of the images put on here with mealworms, grasshoppers and even grass lizards pinned down, I assumed the worst.