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Published: July 20th 2014
Two Gorgeous Females
Caroline and her Carnaby, Jesus when the squawk its deafening
Through our membership with the 4 wheel drive club, I had arranged a working bee at the Black Cockatoo Preservation society in Karakin.
Firstly, I can’t specifically remember but I do not think we used the words “working bee”, in the UK and I first heard the terminology from Helen on our favourite farm in Wagga, I assume Working Bee, comes from the term “Busy as a Bee”.
Anyway, the 4 wheel drive Association of Western Australia use the premises at the Black Cockatoo Preservation Society and in return the 4 wheel drives clubs who are members of the 4 wheel drive association are expected to put in some spare time for jobs to be done as part of the remuneration.
So the day had been set, the sun had come up and started the day beautifully and Caroline and by 9am I parked in the car park and waited patiently for the only other club member who had offered to be of assistance, (thanks Andy Bayley!)
The good thing was that a few other clubs were here to help as well, so we all had a booklet of instructions of our section of work that we
Me and my Bird
Struth these are big creatures
were to carry out.
As we drove inside the secure compound there were a few Emu’s walking about within the tree’s, we had been advised not to spook them as they were nesting and I wondered if these generally nosey creatures would come over and be a nuisance.
There is something eerie about Emu’s, they walk around you really slow and just look, we have had plenty of Emu interaction on our adventures so know not to trust them, they are strange creatures, but they probably think that about us too, which is why they are so nosey! Once we had gone past though, they lost interested, too busy guarding their nest.
Our instructions were to “burn” 4 huge piles of wood that had previously been piled up, which seemed an easy objective, but with the amount of rain we had had recently and when we got out to our prospective piles, it was really damp and wondered if there was any chance in getting it going.
While we were pondering, we saw a man walking a dog, it looked like a Kelpie, but as they walked closer I could hear a low growl, Caroline asked
the man if she was friendly, he said she was but it takes her a while to get used to people. So stroking her was completely out of the question. We discussed her breed and find out that she is a pure bred Dingo, we were surprised as she had the markings of a Kelpie and all of the dingos we had come across so far have all been a sandy colour, but we were told that most dingos we have seen were probably cross breeds.
They went on their way and we continued to ponder the bonfire. Andy Bayley and I looked at each other and went Mmm!! Then I said I had a jerry can of petrol in the cruiser as I keep it handy for the chainsaw.
I asked permission from the organiser to use the petrol and he agreed, so we gingerly splashed petrol around the base of the fire then put the can safely away and asked Caroline to retreat to a safe distance. I must point out at this stage, that we are not in fire ban season and the ground was so damp, there was minimal if any risk at all
Pure Bred Dingo
She was lovely, but she didn't like humans
of the fire spreading.
As one would expect a match was thrown in, the petrol went “woosh” and the fire got going which was the plan.
The Cockatoo society have their own Bob Cat which they used to push more wood in to the centre of the fire as required and of course gently keep the fire contained.
Once this pile was going we walked to the next pile and got that one burning , until all four large stacks were all burning, by then more people had turned up to help, so all four fires were being monitored.
We were asked if we wanted to go and see some of the Black Cockatoo’s which we obviously did, Andy Bayley said he would carry on tidying up whilst Caroline and I went off to see our feathered friends.
One of the volunteers beckoned us in, through the first gate, making sure it was closed behind us, before we opened the inner door, and the guy inside had this big bird on his shoulder who was eating a Honkey Nut.
From the Urban Dictionary : A term used in Western Australia as an alternative to
With its new HF Antenna
"gumnut". Describes the woody nut or seed pod of the gum tree, specifically the gumnuts of the marri tree "Eucalyptus callophylla". Useful for throwing at enemies or friends and family.
Caroline had a Carnaby’s Cockatoo sit on her shoulder, she looked like a pirate, the Cockatoo was more interested in her sunglasses and wanted to take them off for her. The Black Cockatoo is a pretty big creature and when you have one sitting on you, you really do know about it.
Unfortunately a little bit of jealousy was going on with the birds vying for Caroline’s shoulder so one Carnaby’s Cockatoo flew into the side of Caroline’s head in the hope of knocking off the opposition. From Wikipedia:
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo also known as Carnaby's Cockatoo or Short-billed Black Cockatoo are endemic to South-Western Australia. It was described in 1948 by Naturalist Ivan Carnaby. It is threatened by habitat destruction. Carnaby's Black Cockatoo are about 55 cm (21.5 in) long. It is mostly dark grey, with narrow light grey scalloping produced by narrow pale grey margins at the tips of dark feathers. It has a crest of short feathers on its head, with whitish patches of
feathers that cover the ears. Its lateral tail feathers are white with black tips, and the central tail feathers all black. The irises are dark brown and the legs brown-grey. Its beak is shorter and broader than that of the closely related and similar Long-billed Black Cockatoo.
I had this big fella sitting on my shoulder eating honkey nut and what a mess he was making of this nut, it’s fascinating to see how dextrous they are, with the nut in its one claw using its beak to systematically strip the nut down to the sum of its parts, if you can appreciate these honkey nuts are as hard as concrete, and they make it look really easy.
I would hate to think what a Cockatoo could do to your finger, if it decided it wanted to bite it.
It really was a privilege to be able to share an intimate experience with these magnificent creatures and hope to do it again, sadly the Black Cockatoo Preservation society is not open to the public, but they do much for this beautiful and endangered bird.
We thanked the volunteer who allowed us in and went back to
see if Andy had got up to any more mischief, which he hadn’t and by now it had been a tough mornings work and time for us to leave, to be replaced by another group of 4 wheel drive club members to finish the jobs for the day.
It was great to be able to do something amazing again and we were happy that we had made a contribution (however small). It had only taken a half a day, supporting this worthy cause and supporting our 4 wheel drive club and look forwards to a return when its sunny and considerably warmer.
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