About the 8 Kookaburras….

Our next-door neighbour, Leith Young, was on their verandah, looking into the valley, when the whole family of kookaburras decided all together to meet on her balcony.

She wasn’t feeding them — they just wanted to do it. Her husband Don took the photo (she’s in it just a scratch outside the right-hand side). I saw the photo and begged a copy for my internet-art-gallery.

I get enquiries about "are the kookaburras real or did you put them in with the computer" type of thing. They’re real. It hasn’t happened since.

Occasionally we feed the birds with tiny bits of cheese or meat but we’ve all a rule in these near-bush homes (alongside the Kalamunda National Park) that we avoid feeding the birds enough to get them dependent (they’d over-multiply and then have problems from getting more and more dependent) so please don’t try to emulate the kookaburras apparently being "tame"  because it’s long-term unkind to feed the native birds more than just enough to let them know we're friendly (and that's cruel in some areas because lots of people aren't "friendly" to birds).

The magpies are the same. Every year in Spring the new babies learn to fly and when they try to land, in our car-parking place, they are quite funny not having quite got their pilots' licenses and wouldn’t get it if they crashed too often, sprawling down from the trees……When Hilda dresses in black-and-white, especially, the magpies (babies included) will eat of our fingers (very gently, like a dog or cat).

The funniest thing to watch recently was that we were baby-sitting a daughter’s young cat, and, although being a gray over-fluffed "Persian" type (you’d think was domesticated) it somehow knew about stalking…..So whereas the other two cats have never worked out anything about "hunting" (one just jumps up and down and squeaks and the birds ignore her and now she’s about 15 years old she’s still the same; the other doesn’t notice the birds…. and the dog regards birds as people to play with because they get out of her way). Back to the story: The little cat was stalking the birds while Hilda was feeding the birds with tiny bits of cheese, but the chook (a gray guinea-fowl) that lived with another chook (that died a few years ago) who together lived with the neighbour’s dog (in the same kennel).....well, this old chook missed the dog (she died recently --- animal friends don't live as long as most people) and she'd been trying to make friends with the new cat (grey and about the same size as her lost chook-mate) and followed the cat everywhere….So we had this grey cat, sort-of stalking the birds, with a largish chook rubbing shoulders with the cat, and the cat was completely ignoring the chook (rubbing up) and trying to creep up on the other birds (but not knowing where to go because they kept moving) — but the two together were so obvious (on the huge flat paved parking area) the birds didn’t seem to bother and just avoided the two of them. I wish I’d had a video camera for the baby magpie landing clumsily (nearly crashed) then the cat and the chook wandering, as if stuck together with the cat belly-downing around….and that day a huge old kookaburra deftly caught a little bit of cheese (I threw it to her) in mid air, in full-flight — the kookaburras do this easily.

This is the edge where the very young magpies can't quite land properly until they've had a few tries (the daisies aren't there now)

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Production David Beale 
52 Chaucer Way 
Kalamunda 6076 

phone +61 8 9293 1512