Q. Could you get anything more iconically Australian than a kookaburra in a gum tree?
A. Three kookaburras in a gum tree.
These three attracted my attention with their chorus, and held it by remaining together for some time there, silently watching, turning this way and that. They were also showing me their full plumage, with its striking markings and always surprising blues.
I fancied they were two teenagers and an older guide, a parent or an uncle, showing them how various kooka jobs are done. The middle one must be the rebellious young male, needing to look cool, as he kept his punk hairdo the whole time, not settling those crown feathers as the others did.
When I was a kindergarten teacher we’d sing Kookaburra sits in an old gum tre-ee, Merry merry king of the bush is he-ee… but my own children had a different version: Kookaburra sits on electric wire, Jumping up and down with his pants on fire…