Queue the dramatic war music… https://youtu.be/InRDF_0lfHk
…….we’re under attack here in Floreat.
It’s Man V Cockatoo.
The scout turns up early with a squawk and a flurry and we hear the first bang, bang, bang of the nuts on our tin roof. “They’re here again!” Mr Garden Consultant shouts and jumps up resplendent in his blue striped flannelette winter PJs, dropping everything that he’s doing and charges outside armed with a tennis racquet, his weapon of choice, which he has taken to leaving perched as a trip hazard for the unsuspecting, at the back door. It’s hilarious to watch him as he grabs tennis balls (which are now in our neighbours’ backyard) and finally resorting to the remnant nuts that have hit the ground from the tree and fires them back up into the trees as he shouts “get out” while Jazz the labradoodle, furiously barks in support, all in a largely futile effort to discourage the now ten or maybe twenty huge black birds from feasting in our tree. It wouldn’t be so bad if they ate the nuts and took them away but they crack the coating with their powerful beaks and discard the outer shells into our garden. The shells are known in our family a honky nuts and when you stand on them inadvertently on a cold morning with bare feet they really hurt. They clog up the pool filter and cover the lawn. It’s like a teenagers party up there and we’re not invited, we are just the darn hosts.
It seems that the nuts are juicy, tasty and ripe in our Marri tree Corymbia calophylla, at the moment and the giant Red-tailed Black Cockatoos have moved in. They have been to visit us every day for the past two weeks and I have to say that we are not winning the battle or the war. They are in complete control of our land at this point and all we can do is take cover.
These huge black birds,Calyptorhynchus banksii naso, with their distinctive red tails are very, very noisy, deafening when they are en masse and actually quite unwelcome guests however their habitat in suburban Perth is ever decreasing and so in a way, I feel like we are doing a bit of a community service by providing food for them but boy oh boy are they messy eaters. They are native to the South West of WA and are known as Forest Reds. These birds feed on Marri, Jarrah, Blackbutt, Karri Sheoak and Snottygobble. Also on some garden eucalypts and berries of introduced White Cedar (Cape Lilac). They can live up to 50 years of age.
Our gutters and garden beds are filled with discarded nuts, leaves and twigs from the tree. The bottom of the pool is covered with them and the lawn looks like we have just had a very windy storm.
They will keep returning until the last nut has been eaten and there is actually nothing we can do about it, despite Mr Garden Consultant’s best efforts with the tennis racquet! Nature rules again. Until then, we must clean up their mess which is taking about two hours a day. I guess we should feel privileged that they have chosen our healthy garden to lunch in but somehow it takes the edge off when the clean-up begins.
I think that I had better get on the phone and call the gutter cleaners!