Cockatoo chaos

Cockatoo chaos

24 March 2015

It is that time of the year again, late summer, when the white cockatoos flocculate into a great seething mass of mayhem, bringing calamity to our neighbourhood. The corellas are here all year round but it is in the summer, after breeding, when then they get together for the “summer holidays”. I know some people don’t like them much as the marauding mass can be quite destructive. In some parts of Australia the sulphur crested cockatoos are a real menace, chewing great shards of wood from houses, sometimes chewing the window frames until the windows fall out! Light fittings, electrical cables and outdoor furniture can also be targeted.

IMGP9102 - Lake Cullulleraine
Corella ANZANG
IMGP3877 - Lone Pine, Canberra

Around us at this time of the year it is little corellas, and their preference is for onion grass and stolons in the local sports ovals and pine cones. When they descend on a pine tree it is transformed into a decorated Christmas tree, and the detritus on the ground underneath looks very much like the residue from our family Christmas day. But they don’t restrict themselves to living vegetable matter, taking also to buildings, playgrounds and electrical cables. While some people find them noisy I revel in their raucousness, even in the sound of a hundred corella bills lopping off branchlets and crunching through cones in a pine tree. In fact I love cockatoo calls, my favourite being the wail of the black cockatoo. I always know that I am back in my home town when I hear the mournful call of the funeral cockatoo.

Little corella

The local councils generally have a program of cockatoo disruption, trying to move them on from one place or another. But this just shifts the problem. One day they’ll realise that the cockatoos just need somewhere to feed and roost near permanent water, and maybe establish a proper residence for them in an out of the way place so they don’t bother anyone. In the meantime contractors drive around the town in the middle of the night firing off blank bird scarer cartridges and playing cockatoo alarm calls in order to disrupt their activities! C’est la vie!


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