I am woken these days — early — by the whining of juvenile birds. The magpies and currawongs and rosellas and kookaburras all seem to have young.
None of them can talk properly yet but that doesn’t stop them making a lot of noise.
Each year, the magpie child is always the worst, following mum about and incessantly demanding food in a repetitive, tuneless whinge; big enough to fly but not to feed or fend for itself, still grey-brown instead of dapper black and white.
The other day, as we were deep inside a cloud here on the mountain, from my dry indoors I spotted the young currawong on top of the gate post. It was perched securely, but it looked nervous, checking over its shoulder at the forest behind it.
I didn’t blame it, as I am susceptible to the mystery of our mountain when it’s in cloudland too. What is out there, slipping between the trees?
What else could a young curra do but look over the other shoulder to check if Mum was still close by. He has to, because she’s too busy looking for food to shut him up. Which I can only hope are not the nestlings of smaller birds.
She took off, and with one squawk — ‘Curra-mum!?’ — he followed.