Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Why Cockatoo Is Not On My Guest List.
"You are living in a bird park" is a frequent remark we often hear from overseas visitors. They are often fascinated by numerous wild birds visiting our backyard. Unlike the famous Jurong Bird Park in Singapore which has a world largest man-made aviary, our feathered residents live in their natural habitat at Edna Hunt Sanctuary and surrounding vacinty. We happened to share the same post code with them, as a matter of fact, they are our next door neighbour! Like all neighbourhood, we have all sort of neighbours, some friendly and quiet and some not so friendly and loud living together. Of course, we have our favourites, there are neighbours that are treated as if they are part of our extended family, whereas some are kept at a distance and only received a diplomatic nodding of the head at the occasional meetings in the street. We would like to introduce our feathered neighbours in the coming blogs. For a start, the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, with its distinctive sulphur-yellow crest and loud raucous screech, is the first neighbour we would like you to know. Some of you may have already heard of them. In Singapore, they are known as Eng Ko and in Papua New Guinea every pet Cockatoo is called Koki. In the northern Australia it is usually found in pairs or small parties, but in the south it often congregates in large flocks of up to a hundred noisy birds. They are often seen in the neighbourhood foraging and social interaction in the morning and late afternoon, before returning to their roost at dusk. It is interesting to note, when feeding, they have a ‘sentinel warning system’ where one or few members of the group kept a watch from a nearby perch over the ground-feeding flock and screech loudly if an intruder approaches.
Although their popularity as a caged pet bird has always been high on the 'A' list and also have a long association with human contact, we are not too keen to add them in our guest list as they becoming a pest around urban areas, where they use their powerful bill to destroy timber decking and wood panelling on buildings. Furthermore, my pet hate is to see them biting off smaller branches and leaves from our gum trees, which are not eaten,however. This important activity may help their bill trimmed from growing too large, but sorry not in my backyard especially nibbling on my old gum tree.