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.


  1. phil, i have come across these cockatoos in different parts of s'pore - changi, rifle range road and 6th avenue. are they migrants from ozzie land? you can read about them here .

  2. Hi YG,
    Are they AWOLs from Jurong Bird Park? There was an urban myth circulating in Sydney, that the increase in their numbers were due to a disgruntled bird breeder releasing them after they became listed by the authority as protected species.

  3. Those r big birds to hv around in ur yard !

    Our neighbourhood r all named after birds. Most backyards hv a bird bath n a tableau with peanuts, oud bread n apple for them to feed. The birds that comes by r of the smaller species like the lovely robins, kingfisher, sparrows. Only the black birds r a nuisance bec they want to hog the food !

    I often hv birds on the window sills looking in. They appear to be rather tame, with a ringed foot. My hubby loves the little creatures. He always leaves the breadcrumbs on the patio to attract the birds. In NL we r taught to save them from diminishing.

    Alot of cities has a large population of pigeon who r not shy abt picking ur food ! U hv to watch out for them.

  4. do you have a Kookaburra flying around in your back yard?

  5. Hi Dutchie,
    We fully agree with you, that a great deal of enjoyment is gained by enticing wild birds into our environment. But one of the problems that have been associated with the feeding activity has been feeding of the non-target species such as pigeons or introduced or non native birds like the Indian Mynah.We normally do not feed the native bird as these birds have a smorgasbord of appropriate foods out there in the Sanctuary. We only put out a bird bath for the birds to drink.
    Phil & Jo

  6. Hi BY,
    Yes, we do have a live-in Koobaburra in the old gum tree. Hehe. He is also our alarm clock and wakes us up every morning with its thunderous laugh.
    Phil & Jo.

  7. Why Cockatoo Is Not On My Guest List.

    What great looking cockatoo