The above picture is for you, Don aka “Wino”. Your convincing display the other day begging me for more kookaburra pictures put so much pressure upon me, my heart crumbled. There was nothing else left for me to do. I folded and succumbed.
On the subject of kookaburras...when I was living at the coast…Sunshine Beach, around the corner from Noosa Heads, on the southern side of the Noosa National Park...excuse me please, I must digress for a moment or three…
I was still married when I lived on the coast. Our home was a two-storey dwelling built on the line of secondary dunes, about 500-600 metres from the main beach. The house had been erected on the highest section of the land, set back from the street. We renovated much of the house, knocking down the existing narrow, short deck and replacing it with a much wider deck that then ran the whole width of the house. It extended out to the edge of the dune into the tree-tops as far as safety would allow. When sitting out on the new timber deck, we were in line with the tree-tops, thereby placing ourselves in the flight path of the many varieties of birds that inhabited the area. The ocean was clearly visible from the deck, the kitchen and dining/living area. The view, however, didn’t extend to the broad, golden beach below, not that that mattered, because the privacy provided by the deck being so high up nestled amongst the trees, was worth more than a billion or so grains of sand.
As has been my habit for many years, I encouraged the birds to recognize the household as a bird-friendly household and, of course, it didn’t take them very long to discover ours was a ‘safe house’. Even Ruska, my ginger cat at the time (the one taken by the python on
Every day, most days more than once, Mum and Dad Kookaburra paid their visits by either sitting on the thick log railings of the deck or the outdoor table. Frequently, they would perch on the kitchen window sill, peering across the sink into the kitchen wondering what they could scrounge from my soft-hearted self. Then their little family multiplied in number. “Mumma” and “Poppa” brought their two kids with them and introduced them to me.
The house next door was rented out to a couple of very nice young surfer lads. Their life was filled with board surfing, girls, music, board surfing and more board surfing. In the back yard they set up an old bath-tub, which they would fill with cold water. After a morning of catching waves, they would then sit in it and play chess.
All was quiet next door. The boys were off surfing somewhere. I was on the upstairs’ telephone looking out my dining room window into the next door yard as I talked. I noticed one of the ‘Kookie-kids’ splashing around in a little bit of water left in the bottom of the bath-tub.
For a while, I thought, “How great! He’s having so much fun splashing around in the cool water.” Suddenly, much to my horror, I realized he was stuck in the pool. Each time he tried to escape, his little claws slid back down the enamel coating of the old bath. He couldn’t get out and he was distressing.
I quickly ended my telephone conversation. Tossed the phone aside, ran down the stairs and leapt the dividing fence between the two properties with the skill of the best Olympic hurdlers.
My poor little feathered mate wasn’t in a very good shape. He had water pouring out of every orifice. I cradled him in my hands and returned home with him. I thought twice about giving him ‘mouth-to-mouth’, but I laid him on his side, switching sides regularly, and then I held him upside down as the water kept pouring out of the poor little guy. To the best of my ability, I dried his drenched feathers with a towel. Placing him in a sunny corner of the deck, I left him on the towel in the sun to recover from his frightening ordeal. And recover he did, much to my delight.
Thereafter, that little fellow came to visit me every day. He would sit on the kitchen window sill watching my every move. Sometimes, he would venture further into the kitchen. I caught him a few times perched on the back of one of the kitchen chairs or on the table. I didn’t mind. I think he thought I was his second mother, or at least his personal Sunshine Beach Lifesaver!