Photographer's Note

This is one of many wild birds and animals that visit my back verandah.

There are many stories that you can tell about these birds.

One happened several years ago 2 weeks before Christmas. During a short, intense storm one night a baby fell out of its nest, 15m high in a gum tree. The nest was a hollowed out termites nest. The baby was as big as a woman's fist, totally bald and sporting a huge beak.

My neighbour heard its pathetic cries as it lay helpless in the grass, crawling with ants. We rescued it and made a nest for it of rags in a cardboard box on his verandah. Someone suggested feeding it with minced meat and soggy bread. And giving it water with an eye dropper. It's skin was transparent enough to see what was in it's belly.

Small spikes grew out of it's skin and within a week, they had unfurled into feathers. It now looked like a mini kookaburra. It's parents also resumed feeding duties and everyday before dawn and late afternoon their very loud calls filled the air. They make a good 3:30am alarm.

During feeding we couldn't go anywhere near the baby or the parents would sit in the nearby gum until we couldn't be seen. They brought it enormous moths, large grasshoppers and 15cm long stick insects. Why had we bothered mincing meat?

Towards the end of the second week, I could bounce it in my hands as it flapped its little wings. Though by now it had doubled in size.

Then, the day before Christmas, 2 weeks after we had found it, it perched on the side of the box, flapped a few times and took off on its first flight. And we never really saw it again. Since they all look the same, maybe this is it.

This next story demonstrates their character. I was attracted outside by a lengthy raucus and found 2 kookaburras fighting over a lizzard. One had the head and the other had the tail.

Neither wanted to let go as they flew around together amoungst the trees trying to rip the lizzard from the other bird. One landed on a branch and the other hung below, flapping and swinging, both protesting loudly. It was the funniest sight. I left them to it and I don't know how long it lasted.

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Additional Photos by Nichola Wallace (niknik) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 32 W: 1 N: 35] (112)
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