Of Kings and Kookas

Although there is no fruit left on my trees, the King Parrots are still hanging around, always startlingly bright amongst grey gums and stringybarks. They haven’t been very vocal, but in any case they’d be outdone by the Kookaburra Kids, who have been driving me nuts!


I finally tracked down one of these sources of endless unmusicality. Just sitting, emitting…

As I bemoaned in The Woman on the Mountain, about all the whinging kids here in summer, although I no longer have a fence for them to sit on:

But without doubt the slowest developers are the kookaburra kids. My place has many older trees and good nesting holes — I have lots of kookaburras. In the breeding season, there are dozens of young ones about, sitting in groups from three to six, turning every raised object in the garden into totem poles, and all muttering. They have a totally flat delivery and are hopeless at learning the words, as all they have is a creaky ‘Hah, hah, hah, hah …’ ad nauseam.

Listening to their progress is more painful to the ear than violin practice, for they saw away relentlessly throughout the next trainee stage, ‘Oo-wah, oo-wah, oo-wah! Oo-wah, oo-wah, oo-wah!’ It seems to last a month, despite plentiful demonstrations from parents and relatives of how to get all the rises and falls of the proper song right.