King of the Bush is He…

A pair of kookaburras has recently taken to visiting our garden and the immediate surrounds.  While they are certainly not the only ones around – there are several ‘tribes’ that we hear calling regularly, from different parts of the property – this particular pair are definitely feeling quite at home in our presence.  The one in the photo is watching while Matt is clearing the slope down to the lower dam  (getting rid of the long poa grass and spiky acacia bushes) in preparation for summer, and is not at all worried by the noise of the brush-cutter or the mulcher.Image

Kookaburras are a kind of kingfisher and are quite large in size, up to about 40cms in length.  They are carnivorous birds, mostly living on insects, worms and small crustaceans.  They certainly like the yabbies in our dams.  We often find their leftovers – a bit of claw – here and there around the place. 

I’m told that kookaburras are also partial to frogs, small mammals and birds, and young snakes.  I found a small – somewhat dead –  brown snake, minus its head, outside our bedroom window one day last year, and can only surmise that one of the kookaburras dropped it while flying over!

I’m wondering if this one is on the lookout for a something to eat – he (or she – I’m not sure how to tell) may well be hoping to score a quick treat running (or slithering) away as Matt works his way down towards the water.  Or perhaps he is just curious.  Some of the things we people get up to must be quite incomprehensible to the wildlife we share our home with.

I’m guessing this must be a young pair, just setting up home.  They seem to be on their own, anyway, and not part of one of the other tribes. Apparently, kookaburras mate for life, and the young from previous years’ matings help with parenting duties until they make their own way out into the world, so perhaps these two are enjoying their first season together and will be building up a family over the next few years.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for them.

They are a beautiful (and cheerful) addition to the list of visitors whose company we enjoy.