Before I take leave of posting for a month, when my wife and I go touring the arid Kimberley region in the Far North-west of Australia, I have one more species of Cockatoo to showcase, and this is our most common and most annoying species, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. These birds are our best indicator of a raptor flying over head due to their very loud and frantic alarm calls or screeches. When alarmed they will raise their crest and spread their wings, while continuously screeching. They will often fly in a flurry if in flock. If they are nesting one will stand guard while the other spreads their wings over the nesting hole.

Large flocks roost and breed all around the Sydney region and throughout most of the eastern states, including Tasmania. Unlike the other species, it tends to spend much of its life foraging and roosting near its nesting sites, and so becomes territorial. Large flocks are common, and they are disliked by many because they noisy and can become aggressive and destructive to property, especially if they are being fed by humans.

A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo calling

I have seen their destructive powers, and friends have told me how complete timber verandas were destroyed by their powerful beaks while they were away on holiday, because they were not there to feed them. This is one bird you do not want to start feeding, as many have found, they become a menace and their droppings will pollute your yard. Cockatoos nest in holes in trees, and compete for nesting holes with the Rainbow Lorikeet, which also nest in the same trees.

They feed mainly on seed from both native Casuarina and Banksia as well other native tree bean pods, such as Wattle, when available (see below). They also feed on seed from the cones of introduced pine trees, which are plentiful during the winter months along the coast.

Feeding on Wattle seed pods

These birds are popular caged pets due to their playful antics and their ability to mimic human speech. One of my blogging friends in the US has one as a pet. My mother had one which would call my father to dinner, and it sounded exactly like her each time, and sometimes he would come to dinner too early. During nesting season you will often see the males, under the supervision of the female chunking out, piece by piece, the final shape of the nesting hole. You might hear the female saying “Keep going dear, I want the bedroom larger, we need room for the built-in wardrobes.”

Similar to the Little Corella, these Cockies love to show off with their often careless antics, which sometimes land them in trouble. I feature them in my book What Birds Teach Us to warn people especially young people to play safe.

This highlighted in this rare capture of a cockatoo who’s antics got out of control to the point of almost colliding with our local residing male Magpie. Here you can see it trying to rapidly abort its direction of flight.

Cockie almost colliding with Magpie

Here is a gallery of shots from a nearby flock, that I hear calling each day.


Have a wonderful week out birding, and stay warm or cool, depending on which side of the world you are on. If this is your first visit to my blog and website, welcome ! Take a few minutes to check out my pages on improving you birding experience, as well as how to make birding a healthy hobby.

We have been thrashed by torrential rain and strong winds for several days non stop, receiving several months rainfall in two days. Flooding everywhere and destruction again, as this has now occurred several times in the last few months and many have just replaced damaged property, as rivers and dams overflow. Certainly not good birding weather here at present.

On our bush walks we often see arboreal termite nests with holes in them, as above. This indicates that a Kingfisher or Kookaburra has left its footprint on the nest, in that it has charged at it and broken into it to use it for a nest. In a similar way, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo will leave a trail of broken off branch twigs on the ground, showing where it last played or fed. We all leave our so called footprint when we interact with others. This can be expressed in the way we conduct ourselves in the physical world, such as men either choosing to leave the toilet seat up or down. I was always taught to leave things as I found them when I enter a room, or replace an item I have borrowed exactly to where I found it. This included leaving lights turned off etc. Though in my current person, I always seek to leave it better than it was if it was not already so, even if it was not me who has left it that way.

Kookaburra guarding its nest from Rainbow Lorikeet

Emotionally, our footprint is much more indelible with others and as Mayo Angelou’s saying goes: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In this instance, occasional self examination is recommended to ensure we do not have any social or relational blind spots. These may be mannerisms or attitudes that reveal themselves in how we speak or use our body language. Solomon very wisely said: “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 (KJV). Jesus uses fruit to express this by saying: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:43-45 (NIV). We can not conceal for long how we truly feel or think about another, in one one way or other it will reveal itself. Our integrity of character is in question when we do not live true to our beliefs and words. Concealed jealousy, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness soon manifest and embarrass. It is wise to choose to forgive and love. Often we are not seeing the person for the problem (which maybe we have created) and it gets in the way of good relationship.


‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,

To learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’

© W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022.

13 Comments »

  1. Hello my friend,
    A lovely post featuring the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and wise advice regarding feeding wild birds and other animals.
    We keep you and your wife in our daily thoughts and prayers, and wish you a blessed holiday ahead.

    Like

    • Thanks Takami,
      Sorry to take so long to reply but as you know we were away and out of signal range for most of the time and so had a break from blogging altogether. We are thankful despite the terrible confusion and crisis in the airline industry here at present we managed to get there and return safely, with just our baggage to follow, hopefully today. We are also thankful that we were kept safe from the new strains of Covid while away. Thanks again for your faithful friendship and prayers, as you are also upheld in ours also. Blessings dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great series Ashley.
    They get bored. Cant think of anything else to call it.
    And their destructive power is phenomenal. There is a dead branch on a tree near here, quite long several meters and over the past couple of months they have taken turns at gnawing away at it. The wood must be sweet.
    It looks as through its been finished with a plane or sandpaper.

    it is not going to be used for nesting as its not much bigger than the bird’s body. But why they took to that branch is indeed a mystery.

    Best wishes for your trip. Be a relief I suspect to get away from Sydney weather. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes these birds are like little bored children who regularly like to flex their competitive muscle to impress. It is amazing how they take out their violence on one particular tree. I know the Yellow-tails will often chew under the bark at the base of a tree to get tasty witchetty grubs but the Sulphur just seems to like the challenge of destruction. As you have observed and so have I they will completely cut down a small tree over a matter of days or weeks. It is suggested it is for beak strengthening, like a rusk to baby. Thanks for your well wishes, the last few days have been cyclonic to say the least, and the devastation is worse than previous three times. We have water siphoning from downstairs constantly at present. Yes we look forward to warm dry weather and hope Qantas have their act together on the day.

      Like

  3. Awwww, I love your bird stories above! Yes, you do need to be careful what you feed in nature! Enjoy your time away. It is our Monsoon Season here and we are praying for rain. I hope yours stops, and I hope ours starts! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa, it is pouring rain and extremely windy here, and flooding downstairs, you are quite welcome to our excess rain. Both ends of the earth are experiencing unusual extremes this year, along with Covid and its challenges. So glad you enjoyed my post, I so enjoy your lovely nature posts, and especially your funny Green Heron recently. Enjoy your week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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