Here in the Blue Mountains we  had an unusually  warm, dry autumn.  The fear is that this is due to global warming.  I really enjoyed the warmth, but it was confusing for our plants.  Spring bulbs were popping up before the autumn leaves had blown away.

Spring bulbs pushing through.

Seasons all asunder.

It was the same for the birds, so used to breeding  when the weather warms up in  spring. This year in Blackheath, one  confused cockatoo couple made a dreadful mistake and went off to find  a nesting hollow in March.  Usually 2 or 3 eggs  are laid, incubated for about 30 days, but this time only one chick hatched.   Fortunately it was still pretty  mild at that stage.

The problem was that another seven or eight weeks passed  before the baby emerged  from the nest and by that time the weather  was …….FREEZING! Thank goodness it was fully feathered.

With all the deciduous trees now leafless it has been  easier than usual to take photos of the winter chick’s progress.


Sulphur crested cockatoo chick.


The impatient youngster never shuts up, crying for food like  a human baby and becoming more and more  insistent.   In its defence, one does need more fuel in cold weather.  However, the  parent bird refuses to be hurried.  It’s often a Mexican stand-off.

Sulphur crested cockatoo and chick.

Hey, don’t turn your back on me!  I’m hungry.

Then finally, the chick’s wait is over. For a few seconds there is blissful silence…well except for a soft, contented gurgle as the food goes down.   Then it’s straight  back to squawking.


Cockatoo chick being fed



Hungry cockatoo chick.

More please!

Much to the infant’s distress the parents have to leave,  joining the flock to feed.  The lawn around the local swimming complex  is a favourite spot.

Sulphur crested cockatoos at Blackheath swimming complex.

Communal lunch at Blackheath swimming pool.

Before long it was time for ‘proper’ schooling.  Both parents refused to let their little one go off without a good tidy up, even though it was woefully uncooperative.


Parent cockatoo preening chick

Sit still!


Prent cockatoo with chick.

Let me fix your head feathers, Chicky.

Of course, when  the Chick  finally arrived  in the  classroom it was the only one there.  No other cockatoo chicks would be hatched until September or October. How sad and lonely.  Of course it would  always be top of the class, but also always at the bottom. There would be nobody to go skating with on a frozen Blackheath duck pond (except for wood ducks).  No-one its own age  to raid orchards with, or  nibble on timber decking.

Have you heard of the  canary in the coal mine?  Well folks, be warned……this  could be  the cockatoo of  climate change.


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