This is now the second week that my camera and lens has been at the hospital having surgery and joint replacement, so this blog post will be quite different from the usual having all but the above picture photographed from my mobile phone (iphone 5s) whilst walking with my wife yesterday at Carss Bush Park near where we live. It was late afternoon, and the flocks of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo were returning to the park, with loud raucous calls, as they do, to roost in the tall eucalypt trees for the night. At first we saw a small flock of Cockies grazing quite peacefully on the lawn by the path, and a huddle of Noisy Miner nearby, which seemed to be in planning mode.
Several of the Cockatoo flock, were standing a little away from the others, acquired our curiosity, as their behaviour seemed somewhat unusual.
It appeared that the main leader of the flock was having a conference with his peers, and Special Agent Noisy Miner was listening in to gain intelligence for his coalition assembled nearby. What could they possibly be discussing with such serious concern?
Nearby two members of the flock were having a stand off which may have precipitated from a disagreement concerning opinions as to how to address their concerns. Note the Noisy Miner again trying to be covert in the background.
A brief scuttle broke out between a pair of teenagers who wanted to assert their authority and deal with the problem their own way.
A Cocky expert was flown in to give advice on this unusual occurrence that had befallen the flock.
They formed a huddle around him as he shared his wisdom and then out of the corner of her binoculars my wife sighted the reason for the unusual concern, as you can see from the above photograph(top right). A lone Long-billed Corella had joined their flock, and has caused concern, as it looks and behaves quite different to them and has yet not learnt their language. Notice there are now two Miner agents listening in, as interest mounts.
It soon became clear of the centre of interest as the Cockies gathered in a circle around the Corella, watching it with concern and curiosity. They were thinking: ‘It looks like us but is different, and Oh, that bill is so long and dangerous, I would not want to have that in my back’. The Corella showed some concern but continued graizing. Corella, like most birds of the Parrot family pair for life but when they loose their partner through death or separation from a flock they often find safety by joining another flock. However, these Cockatoos are quite familiar with the Little Corella which is often found grazing with them in the Sydney area, but not this Long-billed species. Note the key differences, the longer bill and the pink under chin of the Long-billed species.
The Corella is actually a small Cockatoo and therefore would find some companionship with them. This is the reason most birds from the Parrot family in Australia can be taught to talk, as this ability to copy and pick up language is a survival technique for birds such as these, on joining a different flock, where they find safety in the flock. This is especially important as many of our parrot species inhabit dry desert places, where finding water and food often requires a group effort. Finches are likewise arid dwellers who do the same.
The flock were unperturbed by my slow approach to get a closer look. My wife stood back as passersby were amazed at how close these birds allowed me to come to them without stirring. The lonely little Long-bill looked at me, also curious, as the Cockies kept a distance from it.
Bare in mind that most birds no matter how aggressive, including Noisy Miners do not usually attack birds of the Parrot family due the wound they can inflict with their heavy sharp beak, so they like Rainbow Lorikeets (featured last week) have few predators and feed alongside the Noisy Miner. They are also aware that these birds are not carnivorous. Oh! Look! the Secret Agents have reported back to the Noisy Miner coalition (this is the name for highly organised Miner squadron which protect the perimeter of their flock territory). Now the coalition has taken interest in the new visitor, carefully advancing and observing intently, till they are satisfied it offered no threat.
The conclusion appeared to be now settled as the alpha Cocky approached the foreigner and greeted it, welcoming it to the flock. He was accepted as one of them, as he chose to join them and trust them. therefore posing no threat. He now would become a special point of interest, whereby they may learn from this bird new lessons that may be helpful for the flock. Now everyone could take it easy and get on with a peaceful life together.
We can learn so much about life from this little flock as we live in our multicultural world and are confronted with people living and moving about us from many different countries and cultures other than our own. When alone in a foreign land among foreign people, of a different language and culture it can be very scary at first, as it is for the many single young adults who come to Australia to find work. They would feel like our Long-billed Corella, somewhat out of place. Looking for that smile and warm acceptance and respect we all crave for more than anything else throughout our lives. Each one of our human kind, are loved and valued by our Creator. Each one of us requires acceptance, unconditional love, and respect to live a healthy life, regardless of our differences. As the alpha Cockie realised, the multicultural aspect brings with it new knowledge, new foods and new friends. Our Creator Father reminded Israel many times, who were often very prejudiced against non-Jews, calling them Gentile dogs, the reason they need to consider how they treat foreigners in their land, for they had previously experienced it themselves:
“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9 (NIV)
It is an interesting read in Luke 4:24-30 to see the anger that arose among the Jewish leaders when Jesus the Christ made reference to several occasions in their history where God had blessed foreigners and included them as key players in his plans rather than Jews, so much so that they tried to kill him. Jesus identified the fact that God loves us all and blesses all who come to him.
“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Also after Jesus healed TEN men (see Luke 17) from the terrible infectious disease Leprosy when they approached him for healing (which was both illegal and punishable to do at that time, as they were always to stay outside the city), after healing them, this was his comment to the Jewish leaders watching him when ONLY ONE returned to thank him:
“Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:18
Have a wonderful week! It is so good to get cooler days and rain again! We give thanks to our Most Gracious Creator for his mercy at this time, for answered prayers. Several major fires have finally been extinguished. There is much cleaning up to be done, and much of our wildlife that have escaped the fires are being supported with human assistance for survival as they face starvation due to lost habitat and their injuries are being nursed. We give thanks for caring people involved in their many different capacities.
My 2nd Edition of “What Birds Teach Us” is at the test print stage after final draft was approved yesterday. Check it out here.
If this is your first visit check out the rest of my website at my HomePage menu for birding info and lessons we can learn from our beautiful Australian birds
Have an enjoyable week and stay safe!
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.