Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An infestation of cockatoos

My fitful sleep was in tatters, shredded by the most unholy cacophony, fit to wake the dead. Almost impossible to describe but something akin to a mechanical contraption desperately in need of oil, with metal parts rasping cruelly against each other. Shrill, discordant, unpleasant, intrusive.

Startled fully awake, I lay trying to comprehend, to make sense of this weird, unfamiliar HORRIBLE noise. 

Not coming from a close-by road, but overhead. Perplexed and fully attentive now, I was aware of it travelling from farmland some distance off. Louder and louder. Dreadful ... what on earth? Birds? There must be hundreds, but what are they? Not anything usual for these parts. Eventually they passed overhead and wheeled off into the distance - come morning I forgot their very existence.

Until
North side of the house
Snowy white feathers, cute as a button close up, entertaining, amusing, inquisitive, swinging from strands of bark and twiglets barely able to hold their weight...
but not so delightful in these numbers
West side of the house
quarrelsome
noisy
voracious feeders
(in what is left of the lopped tree)

South side of the house
ravenous
East side of the house
Many farmers and graziers despise cockatoos due to their extremely destructive nature. Even in suburbia they've been known to strip timber from houses, shred insulation boxes and create havoc.

So when they were frightened off by a passing truck I was rather pleased
Debris from their visit
I wonder if their appearance in such large numbers has anything to do with the locust plague earlier in the year followed by the floods? Perhaps they've found their way south foraging for food? It's easy to forget that the repercussions from natural disasters affect birds and animals too and this could be just one of many events playing out across the country.

Ah ha! Technically speaking this is a Little Corella or Cacatua sanguinea (I wonder if that's from sanguine, meaning cheerful or hopeful or for the ruddy complexion?)


.

17 comments:

Bob said...

Ha ha - I'll vote for the ruddy complexion - or the ruddy mess they leave!

Michelle said...

we get the rare black cockatoos fly in fr time to time. Have seen 4~5 strip the small tree across the road in few short visits. Beautiful birds, I love it when they visit but can understand the type of damage a flock could cause. Anyway we had a flock of regular cockatoos fly by on the weekend, few took a detour to munch on,our almond tree. I think they move about for seasons,?? We often get the pink ones early mornings, must live locally.

sue said...

Bob, I'll Pay that one! Those cyprus cones are strewn all over the back yard. They take them onto the roof, (which is a very steep pitch) munch on them, then drop them and watch them rattle down the roof onto the ground! Except the ones that get stuck in the guttering. They're real ankle twisting killers!

Michelle, We haven't had the black ones here, but I think they're all destructive, but so lovely to look at. We've had some galahs around this year too - never before. Wish they'd drop some of their lovely feathers!

Liza said...

Ouch. Off topic (a bit) but this reminded me of the Magpies (I think) that woke us up in the morning at my sister's house northwest of Melbourne. It's a sound I'll never hear again until I get there to see her...

Cruella Collett said...

These are amazing! I mean, I get how you might not want them invading your house like that, but what a awesome object for your photographs! I think I'd consider it worth it ;)

sue said...

Liza, not at all off topic! Just as I'm writing this I can hear a magpie warbling. The cockatoos have gone for the moment, and the maggies have come back! I love them - their song is a delight, no matter what time of day or night (sometimes you hear them gurgling sleepily when it's a full moon)

Cruella, it was kind of fun to dash around with the camera, but I'm very pleased they've gone. If even one or two had decided to pick at the wood around the windows it could have been a real pain.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I never thought of cockatoos as havoc wreaking creatures. So glad you managed to get some amazing pictures before they flew the coop.
Hopefully, they won't bother you again. Julie

sue said...

thanks Julie, me too! I'm just thinking the neighbours probably thought I was slightly crazy dashing around with my camera!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, where do you live again? That would be quite a sight!

sue said...

Alex, Victoria Australia. So far this year we've had locusts, floods and cockatoos, and I hear mice are in plague proportions - I don't think I'll take photos of them if they appear down here!

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

LOL. Amazingly I got used to that sort of thing living here. The fruit bats are even worse!! Love your pics Sue.

sue said...

Mercy, Hi!! erhg, Fruit Bats, not my favourite critter. We have them in Melbourne. Gosh they can really do a lot of damage can't they.

Arkansas Patti said...

When you think about how much money people in the States pay for those birds as pets, it is hard to think of them as pests.
How awesome seeing so many as free birds.
I think they are beautiful, but then they are not eating my house. All a matter of viewpoint.

Manzanita said...

Hey My friend Sue, Too much of a good thing is not good..... or one of those old cliches. I heard of how destructive flocks of birds can be and your pictures tell a very good story. Great photos.
Hope your weekend is a perky one free of bird sounds.
P.S. I think of you every time I use my blog link.
Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Barb said...

Magical photos of the Little Corellas - I enjoyed your story of hearing them in the night and discovering them in the morning.

sue said...

Arkansas Patti - interesting isn't it. I'd never think of them as a pet, it'd seem cruel somehow to keep them in a cage. They haven't been back for a couple of days, perhaps they've moved on to more tasty treats!

Manzanita, lovely to see you. Life has been a bit hectic and I haven't had much time to visit. Your comment brought a smile to my face on this grey afternoon.

Barb, thankyou, I'm glad I was able to share something fun with you.

Humphry said...

This will not really have effect, I consider like this.
games for pc | shooting games | download mac games | games free download | play new games