Flight of the Kookaburrah
One of the things I have enjoyed about Australia is the way that everyday nature is so different from home. This might seem strange to an Australian, but I love looking at gum trees of all kinds, not because I’m looking for koalas – which I’ll admit, sometimes I am- but because I love beautiful trees, and these are all so different from the ones I am used to. We have a running joke that Australia is teeming with “Dr. Seuss trees” because of their windswept nature, long trunks and bushy tops. Truffulas anyone?
The other day I was sharing a drink with two locals in Townsville, and they found my fascination with trees hilarious. “Trees?” One said. “What about the people? You’ll never see such handsome people again”…. It turned out this modest gentleman was a Pomme, so that provides a bit of explanation 🙂
The different types of the tropical birds are also truly a treat. I aspire to learn more about the birds here, which include parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, and of course kookaburras. I was fortunate to grow up with a backyard full of bluejays and robins, and love listening to birdsongs.
You’d think that the most distinguishing thing about a kookaburra would be it’s wild laughing call, which sort of sounds like hysterical monkeys, with an incrediblly loud oooo-ooo-hoo-hoo-ahh-hahhh-ahh from the predawn hours into dusk. This was in fact a shock, but one I was prepared for – especially given its name….
But the most surprising thing to me about kookaburras is that they are so brazen. These suckers are willing to swoop down right into your meal and snatch the food right off of your plate. That’s right; Kookaburras are not afraid to take your bacon. The funniest thing about this behavior is that, once successful in stealing our bacon – Lake’s bacon, actually – on one otherwise fine morning, the kookaburra at our campsite vigorously whacked it on the ground simulating a successful hunt… Or perhaps it was just taunting us…