Sunday, 10 June 2012
The bird on the left is One. She is the mother of Richard the Third, all starey there on the right. One is the kookaburra that started the whole thing. One day, several years ago, while Anthony was barbecuing chicken, she came onto the railing for her share. And now, her, her partner, and her several generations of kids - about 12 when it's a full house - come visiting every day for some delicious raw mince. Mmm. Yum.
Only a few months before this photo, One was more than happy to feed Richard the Third, one of two fuzzy little babies she had in the last nesting. Now, her and Two both get a little irritated at his pushy ways. Up he flies onto the decking (the throne, for all intents and purposes) and just shoves his way in-between them. These days, One and Two both turn from Richard the Third to eat their bits of meat in peace, away from his prying beak.
After the time was right for Richard the Third to come out of the nest, the next step was leading him out to a tree branch on the edge of the property where he was closer, and could watch what was going on and start sorting it out for himself. One wears herself thin in those months, flying backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, taking meat to her babies. Her life partner, Two, does the same thing, and so do some of the other children too.
Richard the Third has been the most brave baby burra I have ever seen. Not too many weeks after One first led him out, there he was, wobbling himself over to the railing to be hand-fed himself, even though sometimes I can see he is shaking. Of all of the babies I have got to see in the last couple of years, he is the only one game enough to do this.
Richard the Third gets full points for effort and for excitement. A couple of times Anthony and I have taken some meat outside only to have Richard the Third go all nutsy and come and fly onto our arms to get closer to the meat.
These days he is far less wobbly - that's if he is a he. It's hard to tell what sex infant kookaburras are. From what I've been able to discern, male burras are identifiable by more teal coloured feathers on their rumps. It remains to be seen yet whether Richard is a boy or a girl. But I'm pretty sure whatever sex he is, he's making a tilt at that throne at some point. Or maybe he is going to start his own posse. Kookaburras live in groups, with the matriarch and patriach of the group being the only ones who breed. This gang seems to have split itself a few times, though. And I think Richard the Third will be a fine new patriarch ... or matriarch, as the case may be.
I've been playing Frogpondsrock's weekly photo partay. Come and play too.