Monday, 2 April 2012

Pardalotes and Cockatoos

In April 2010 a Striated Pardalote provided us with a photo opportunity when he engaged with his reflection in the window beside a hanging planter. We haven't yet seen or heard any pardalotes this year.

Pardalotes always make me smile. We listen for their simple song. They can be hard to spot in the trees. Sometimes we see one fly out of its burrow in a sandy bank. Sometimes we see what appears to be a leaf fall from a tree, flutter toward the ground, only to wing into a burrow at the last minute. They range between 9-11.5 cm (3-1/2 to 4-1/2 inches ) in size.

We've seen fewer numbers of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (63 cm; 25 in) in the last couple of years. In the previous twenty years that we've lived here they heralded each Wet Season and we looked forward to their appearance. They sound to me like minature elephants trumpeting gently. Flocks of twenty  and more of these large birds sometimes flew overhead. Typically, 3-6 individuals would settle in a nearby bloodwood tree where they would shred gumnuts and feed on the minute seeds.

Black cockatoos seem to have been replaced by Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (45 cm; 18 in), extremely loud and raucous birds that flock in higher numbers. It is likely loss of habitat that drives them into new territories. Always on the lookout for fruit and nut trees, especially orchards, they have learned to be very wary of people, but their voice and white colour do not work well as elements of camoflage when raiding. Our neighbours have numerous fruit and nut trees. How could a white cockatoo resist?

And how could I resist linking to Snowball (cockatoo), the first non-human capable of beat induction (that is, dancing). Just for fun, have a look at Snowball dancing in a 35 sec commercial.

post by M in JaM
pix by J in JaM

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