I live near Port Road, a big strip of road that goes from the city of Adelaide to (you guessed it!) Port Adelaide.  It has three lanes each way, and in the middle, all the way down, there is a green strip.  Well, for now – that’ll be tram tracks soon.  And by soon, I mean maybe in the next five years, notthati’mbitter.  Anyhow, that means lots of trees, and besides that, there’s some government facility near us with lots of empty space for trees.

The birds love it.  There are flocks and flocks of white cockatoos and sulfer crested ones that fly back and forth over my house from one of these areas to another.  They make lovely lovely noises.  I know, I know.  To some people it kind of sounds like someone dragging a nail over a rusty tin can.  But to me, it sounds like home.  I love to hear a whole flock of them swooping overhead, or a group of two or three, or even one lonely bird, squawking as they search for the rest of their flock.  I love their cries and I love the soft ‘shwoomp’ of their wings, so full and white. Once a huge thunderclap woke them all (and me!) in the middle of a gloriously stormy night, and you could hear them swarming up from their roosts, startled into wakefullness.  Just lovely.

Galahs in flight

All photos blatantly stolen from the internets.  Click on them for their point of origin.

When I was in China, I bought a whole bunch of David Attenborough docos, and watched my way through them. When it reached the turn of the parrots in The Life of Birds, there was a shot of rosellas in a gum tree, shrieking at each other, making a truly awful racket, squabbling over the nectar.  I burst unexpectedly into homesick tears.

I had the oppostie reaction on Saturday when I walked under a street tree – a flowering gum – packed full of rainbow lorikeets.  How ridiculous are thes ebirds?  They look like they were coloured in by a two year old!  I walked less than a metre under some of them and their only reaction was to eye me off, as if DARING me to steal their delicious food.  Just TRY it, missy!  As I past, the squawking set up an even higher pitch, and the whole tree looked like it might take off, so vibrating was it with flapping creatures.

Rainbow Lorikeets – unusually restrained

Less adorable to me are the blackbirds that have invaded the suburb.  I am NOT fond of these birds, their melodious song aside.  Which, frankly, sounds like what a computer would come up with if you asked it to pretend to be a bird.  Not a patch on a magpie’s morning song.  Can you tell there was a nest right outside my window?  I’ve often been owken by the beautiful, but repetative, blackbird song, echoed all through the suburb.  About 2am, they start.  Then, at about 3:30 when they fade out, the cockies start up – much nicer.  Flocking and calling. 

On the same saturday as the rosellas brought a grin to my face, I startled a bunch of blackbirds out of someone’s yard.  They flew up to the electric wires, and perched there.  There must have been two dozen, and half of those still had the brownish plumage of the young’uns.  They looked at me with their beady eyes, and I must say I thought that they looked very sinister.  Maybe it’s because I know that they kick other bird’s young out of their nests.  Or maybe  I am just plain prejudiced.

A flock of white crested cockatoos

I often look at the photos at, say, Attic 24 or Posie Gets Cozy and marvel at the rolling english countryside.  It looks like something out of a children’s book!  And imagine being able to enjoy birdsong, or a landscape, or berries from a rambling blackberry, without feeling conflicted because those are noxious pests, doing damage to the environment, to native plants, birds, animals.

I was very pleased, when we snuck next door at the new house for our peek the other day, to startle two sulfur crested cockatoos from a tree.  I will miss the calls of the galahs when we move, hopefully there will be more where we are – and I’m planning native shrubs and grasses out the front and around the veggies at the back, to hopefuly attract wrens and willy wagtails and other cheeky feathered friends.

the superb blue wrens at my parent’s place are just beautiful and I miss them – they get red crested, black cockatoos, too, which are glorious


One thought on “Birdsong

  1. Rosellas/lorikeets are completely mental birds. I adore them. The level of crazy when they fly around is fabulous; the crazy bright colours, the crazy loud squawking, the crazy games they play with each other (there’s always a game).
    My favourite birds.

Whadya reckon?

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