WELL HELLO AGAIN GANG-GANGS!
After not seeing Gang-gang cockatoos in my Blue Mountains garden for several years I was delighted when a lively group arrived a couple of weeks ago. There were lured by the ripening seeds on my various wattle trees (acacias).
They have been returning almost every day. So far they have virtually stripped the Golden Wattle and the Pravissima.
They always appear to be bright-eyed and smiling. Well, it’s probably hard not to be chirpy with that fantastic ‘hair’.
This Acacia pravissima took a bit of a battering before the group of 15 or so moved on;
So far they haven’t been tempted by my silver wattle. Acacia covenyi. It’s a bit disappointing, because they would look spectacular among the silvery grey pods. The king parrots certainly love them.
The Gang-gangs make funny little noises that remind me of chortling babies. Other people say the noise sounds like the twist of a corkscrew (yes, very true) and they are also, with good reason, dubbed ‘creaky gate birds’. But often they just silently munch away. An engaging article in The Age (November 1949) mentions this;
So quiet are the birds when feeding that even in the forest the only intimation one has of their presence in the gums is the thump of dropping twigs to the ground.
And one can walk under the tree on the which birds are feasting before they casually take flight to a nearby bough. It is this complacency which, to my mind, has accounted for the scarcity in other years of this cockatoo. For, though darkish, the flesh is very palatable, and the bird has been an easy prey for both the boomerang and the gun.
Oh good grief, fancy these dear characters ending up in the pot!
When you have eaten far too much and it is dreadfully hot, move to the cool canopy of a maple with your mate..
The biggest threat to the cockatoos in the Blue Mountains is most likely to be competition for nest hollows, particularly with sulphur crested cockatoos, whose numbers have increased so alarmingly. Gang-gangs lay from I-3 eggs, which are incubated for about 30 days. Monogamous pairs share nest building, incubation and feeding of the chicks. Their status in New South Wales is classed as ‘vulnerable’, which is a concern.
The correspondent in The Age noted;
The old gang-gang has been described as the clown of the treetops and without doubt he is. …I have watched these birds on a tree top all one day, preening each others feathers with all the comical antics of monkeys at play.’
Gang-gangs are easily tamed, although it’s much more fun to watch them in the wild. Apparently they are a bit temperamental, too. An owner may be greeted with a caress for six days of the week and a nasty nip on the seventh!
Of course I have a very special reason for finding the Gang-gangs so adorable. Reverse the colours in this early morning photo of my darling husband Rob and SNAP!
Oh yes, and most of them are left-‘handed’, like me. The bird below is a young male. He only has a red forehead, and a smaller crest.
This might be his Mum, or his sister;
I will miss you when you leave, Gang-gangs. Mind you, the trees will have a chance to recover!
YES! – The gang (get it?) finally moved to the beautiful silver wattle. It was day of rain and mist, but they didn’t mind at all. However, those fancy ‘hairdos’ soon became very wet and slicked down.
There is a primary school in the A.C.T which has the Gang-gang as its emblem….and whose pupils wear colourful uniforms featuring scarlet and grey. Let’s hope there will still be plenty of the birds around when the kids grow up.