I remember spending lazy Sunday afternoons as a kid lying on the lounge room floor and thumbing through my dad’s glossy bird identification books. The drawings in his books by the wife of noted ornithological zoologist John Gould and others fascinated me. I doubt I’ll ever attain their level of mastery , the detail is amazing! I haven’t looked at those books in years, but to this day I still enjoy watching birds and trying to identify them.
I have a couple of king parrots that live in the trees behind my house, and there was a blue wren and his harem living in the back yard of the last place I lived. In late spring there are lots of baby galahs screeching to be fed in the trees of the neighbourhood, and protective magpie parents dive-bombing me as I travel the streets on my bike.
The birds I see the most in my neighbourhood are the cockatoos. They are a funny bird… a mob of them scared the living daylights out of me a couple of months ago. I was startled from my sleep in the early dawn when I heard thumping on the roof above my head and then the clatter of what sounded like rocks being thrown onto the roof. I bounded out of bed, grabbed my phone and the baseball bat I keep beside the bed, and raced outside, expecting to find a number of the local teens causing mischief. Instead I found half a dozen white cockies bouncing around on my roof and pulling the concrete out of the ridge-capping and throwing it at each other. Destructive sods! As you can imagine I was somewhat relieved that I wasn’t going to have to get snarly at a bunch of kids… but on the other hand I quickly came to understand that I was completely at the mercy of the birds… I had no way of scaring them off.
I spent the next couple of early mornings cursing the cheeky birds as they continued to systematically remove the concrete from my roof and drop the pieces in a noisy clatter until I could get someone in to re-point the tiles along the top of the roof.
I think cockies are the teenagers of the bird world… cheeky and destructive for no apparent reason at times, but distinctly loveable all the same