A CONTINUING KOOKABURRA CONNECTION
In June or July every year a pair of kookaburras arrive in my garden at Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. The rest of the time I only see them in the distance, and hear them laughing and chattering with their extended family. Their regular visits are one of the special joys of winter, along with fragrant daphne, AFL football and warm, wood fires.
I call the birds Toffee (left) and Taffy. Toffee has lighter head feathers, so they are easy to tell apart. I think of her as the female, although I don’t really know for sure. . Apparently kookaburras mate for life, so I hope nothing nasty happens to one of them. They live for about 15 years in the wild.
Nature being what it is, their behavior is not always so sweet. One day I spotted them squabbling over a poor mouse. What a dreadful way to go! Taffy appeared to have the better hold. I think they mainly live on lizards and snakes, and frogs down in Pope’s Glen Creek.
A few day afterwards they arrived on the balcony railing of the deck. I presume they are watching their reflection in the windows, but they never seem agitated. I don’t feed them, and they rarely use the birdbaths. However, they become quite friendly and used to my presence. Taffy is on the left in the shot below.
Beside the deck is a Japanese maple that has coral coloured bark in spring. It adds a slash of colour when the trees are bare, and is a pretty backdrop to the kooka photos.
My young associate Editor Des was a bit unsure of the visitors at first, especially Taffy. However, they eventually became friends .
Des’s friend Milly was even more cautious. I think this was Toffee.
Kookaburras are such characters. I’m delighted that the dear old kooka is the official bird for New South Wales.
Last year I watched them coming and going from their nest hollow. It was too far away to document with my little ‘point and shoot’ camera. And with chicks to care for they no longer had time to sit and bond on my deck.
UPDATE – A few days ago I saw Toffee and Taffy sitting together high on a gum tree branch. Goodnight my friends. I hope you will be back soon.