I saw it out of my bedroom window, which was a feat in itself as I can barely see straight first thing in the morning.
He was caught in a beam of early morning sunlight and even though I couldn’t see too well it looked amazing.
He was too far away for an iPhone shot and it crossed my mind that by the time I got my camera unwrapped and staggered out onto the front verandah, he would be gone.
As you can see, he waited for me.
If my brain hadn’t been caffeine deficient I would have remembered.
Kookaburras are VERY patient.
About three decades ago we lived on the side of a hill in Belgrave.
It was our first house and we loved it very much. It did not have the character of the house we live in now but we loved it’s modern simplicity.
This house had a large wooden deck on the side facing the view and a family of Kookaburras (yes, they hang out in large family groups) would visit often as the previous owners would hand feed them delicious meaty treats. The adults were reasonably fearless and would delicately take a slice of ham off your open palm without doing you any damage. The young ones were a bit clumsy and sometimes you would end up with a beak mark in the palm of your hand. After a while, we got very good at recognising the young ones. We put their treat on the railing!
I had a huge workshop at this house which my father and I built (my brother helped a bit). I remember going into my workshop one morning and noticing a Kookaburra sitting on a branch of a tree nearby. He was still there when I went up to the house for lunch and still there when I got back. Early in the afternoon, I saw him dive into the long grass and come up with a lizard.
He sat on that branch for at least four hours waiting for something edible to move in the very long grass. I guess he had done it many times before and he knew what worked, but I have to admire this creature’s patience and persistence.
Kookaburras are a biggish bird, at least as big as a crow and other smaller birds drive them away during Spring as they are known to kill young birds.
In Australia, they are much loved and they received a positive reputation amongst the settlers as they hunt snakes, but they do have a darker side (if that is possible when talking about animals).
When we moved to this house we thought that we would be able to continue a relationship with these beautiful birds but it was not to be; until now.
There does not seem to be many nesting sites close to us and as these birds stick to a geographical zone (and they fiercely protect their territory) we were disappointed.
About a decade ago a neighbour noticed that there was a pair of birds nesting in the hollow of one of her Gumtrees. As the years have gone by and breeding seasons have come and gone the family has gotten bigger and their area of influence has gradually come to include our house so we get quite frequent visits but alas they will not come close enough for us to feed them.
We have had a similar experience with a Magpie family in recent years and our property is all the richer for having these larger birds visit.
Even though I was using a long lens and I was being as quiet as my confused, early morning brain could manage he did notice that I was there.
They have excellent eyesight.
After I staggered back to bed with my precious cup of coffee Zed noticed the bird, which is pretty remarkable as dogs don’t have great eyesight but I guess the bird moved slightly and it caught Zed’s attention.
Zed is always on the lookout and he can see my neighbours chickens through that window if they wander down toward the creek, so I guess it was in his field of view.
I have to say that this was a really good way to start my day.