Kookaburras are the famous Aussie icon with their merry laughter echoing through the gum trees. When Maggie (magpie) was a youngster, he and a Kookaburra we called Kookie used to play a lot together in our yard.
I read in Australian Nature magazine that Kookaburras keep their young for four years. I also read somewhere that they make the laughing sounds when they are in the midst of territorial disputes. In my observations that certainly seems to be the case. Although there are many kookaburras around this part of the bush, they are mostly quiet and draw little attention to themselves. Once in a while, you see a flurry of activities and a group of them fly from one tree to another chasing another group or sit on the electric wires and sing their renowned laughter song.
Kookaburras are also well known for eating snakes; making the bush safer by keeping the snake numbers under control. The magpies and butcherbirds are fairly diligent in chasing the snakes out of our yard. If the snakes are resting in the trees, they keep a continuous guard on them and provide an alerting service for the rest of us, making sure that no one mistakenly goes near the snake. For this reason, I think that the kookaburras don’t get as much natural food in our yard as they do outside our fence, so we tend to see more of them in the trees just outside our yard, than within.
They are well camouflaged in the gum trees as you will see in the pictures below and it can be quite hard to get the camera to get a clear focus because they blend so well with the dappled light through the trees. Young Kookums has become more friendly as a result of Wendy magpie's efforts and so Kookie too has allowed us to get a bit closer.
Take a look at the slideshow below for a peek at the birds and click here for a close-up of Kookums.
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