Australia's Birds


The ride really had no goal, in despite Billy’s first statement. There were no fences to mend. No cattle had escaped onto neighboring property. No waterlines were ruptured. Stray wild pigs did not compromise the lucerne fields. Once in a while the dogs would run after a laggard cow straying from the herd, but in the end the ride was really a time for Billy and Jen to talk. Jen was uncomfortable in the warm humid climate, but relaxed with discoverer’s awe when again confronted with smells and noises of the nearby forest. The air remained scented from the oils from the eucalypts, and there was a constant murmur of noises from the trees. Once again Jen heard loud “kawhoo” noises continuing in groups of six or eight calls one after another.

“What is that noise?”

“It’s a Koel, a black cuckoo bird with blood red eyes,” Billy replied. “It lays its egg in other bird nests to give it a free ride; the baby cuckoo gradually kills the other mates in the nest.”

Let's try an experiment: for a real immersion into Australian bird calls from the jungle activate both of these bird call videos at the same time., Press the white triangles on each, grab a bottle of fine Aussie beer, sit back, and enjoy.

Suddenly a new noise erupted. Jen heard this new noise a few days previously as well. It was a rapid fire staccato that reminded Jen of monkeys in Tarzan movies. “And what is that?” she asked Billy.

“That’s a kookaburra.” Billy replied. “We also call it the Laughing Jackass."

Oh, I learned the Kookaburra song when I was in girl scouts!” Jen proclaimed, as she began singing “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree. Merry, merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh Kookaburra! Gay your life must be.”

Billy laughed. “I guess there’s a bit of Aussie in you after all.”

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Australia's Birds: Death From Down Under, Chapter 9

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