Australia · gardening · photography

A Touch of Paradise ~ The Kookaburra Kingdom

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Flamingos Kookaburras walk, and sway in peace
Seeing this, it makes my troubles cease
The sun is hiding, leaving a pink scar
That stretches right across the sky….” ~ A Touch of Paradise sung by John Farnham.

Regular visitors will have become quite familiar with the next Australian icon I am featuring here, as part of my series of Australia Day posts ~ The Laughing Kookaburra.

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Every time a kookaburra visits, it really is a Touch of Paradise in my back yard. Now would be the perfect time to click on the link of the song, written by the wonderful Australian musician Ross Wilson, and performed by John Farnham.

Now back to the kookaburras….

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Kookaburras are part of the Kingfisher family, growing to a height on average of 42 cm. They are native to Australia, territorial and mate for life.

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Their nests are made in the hollows of trees and both parents share the duties of caring for their young.

From watching the kookaburras each day as they come to feed in my garden, there are certain points I have noticed about their behaviour. Reading through the facts, so as I can tell you all a few actual factuals about these most recognisable of Australian birds, it is interesting to read about things that I have already noted!

Territorial groups of kookaburras flock together.
Territorial groups of kookaburras flock together.

For example, they don’t arrive on my feeding table in pairs only, I can have any number of kookaburras here, sometimes up to eight at the same time, who intermingle amicably with one another. The facts confirm this to be so, that they do cohabit in a set area, even sharing the responsibilities of their young.

That explains another thing I have noticed about the young kookaburras, they will take food from any of the adults at the feeding table.

A timid baby, still finding its way in the big world.
A timid baby, still finding its way in the big world.

So who belongs to who? Which adults do the baby kookaburras belong to?

It seems to me that in the Kingdom of Kookaburras, it simply doesn’t matter! The babies are taken care of by the multitudes. I guess you could say they watch out for each others backs!

Creamy coloured babies, like chocolate and milk.
Creamy coloured babies, like chocolate and milk.

The beautifully pristine and gloriously coloured baby birds are still quite shy when I take their food out to them, preferring to stay on the clothesline and watch me from afar….

….and then there’s Larry.

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This is Larry on the left, taking care of his, or perhaps another kookaburras baby. Who knows in the Kookaburras World. They all look out for one another.

Have I mentioned my old mate Larry before? He’s my Ultimate Tame Bird, out of all the birds who visit. I can hand feed Larry, he flies straight up to me and looks straight into my eyes, often with his head tilted to one side, as if questioning me.

If only he could tell me what he is thinking! A penny for your thoughts Larry?

When I asked my daughter Emma to feed Larry for me, so as I could take a photo of him being hand fed, Larry was a tad reluctant. "Who's this?", he seemed to be asking!
When I asked my daughter Emma to feed Larry for me, so as I could take a photo of him being hand fed, Larry was a tad reluctant. “Who’s this?”, he seemed to be asking!

When I am in the garden there is usually a kookaburra nearby. As much as I would like to think they are enjoying my company, the reality is that they are hoping I will rearrange some earth, disturb a worm or witchety grub, and faster than the bug can say “kookaburra”, it’s been swooped upon, flicked against a hard surface and eaten!

"There's gotta be a worm in here somewhere!"
“There’s gotta be a worm in here somewhere!”

Kookaburras will perch patiently on the branch of a tree for hours, watching, and waiting. Their eagle kookaburra eyes don’t miss a thing and once spotted, their prey doesn’t stand a chance!

Watching, waiting....
Watching, waiting….

As the old wives tale would lead us to believe the kookaburras burst out into great choruses of laughter when there is rain about, and in years gone by housewives would swear by the accuracy of this tale, rushing into the garden to bring the washing in when the kookaburras started their song of so-called warning.

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The truth of the matter is that their laughter is a warning….for other kookaburras to clear off! They are telling any stray kookies who may be lurking amid the nearby foliage that this area is taken!

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Yes, this area is taken, by the Kings of the Bush, who have transformed my garden into A Touch of Paradise. 🙂