Friday, December 25, 2009

A Partridge And A Pear Tree

Well, I guess I got the title to this entry wrong it should have been titled "A Kookaburra Next To An Old Gum Tree", but I am still trying to get into the holiday season!

When I was a young child I used to listen to a record every night that consisted of popular children's poems and songs.  The record included the Kookaburra song.  Maybe you are familiar with the song and the lyrics are the following:

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gum drops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
Leave some there for me

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Counting all the monkeys he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
That's not a monkey that's me

Kookaburra sits on a rusty nail
Gets a boo-boo in his tail
Cry, Kookaburra! Cry, kookaburra!
Oh how life can be

I always thought that a Kookaburra was an imaginary animal, and was surprised to learn many years later that they do exist.  Since moving to Oz I have had several opportunities to view the bird both in the wild and in captivity.
I have also had the pleasure of listening to their laugh--which starts as a low chuckle and progresses to an  ear piercing cackle.  The first time I head one I swore it was a Howler Monkey.  I prepared myself to soon have bananas hurled at us like in Costa Rica.  Mark wanted to know what a Monkey would be doing in a Eucalyptus Forest and the only explanation I could offer was that it had escaped from the zoo.  After what seemed like hours of scanning the trees we finally spotted the noise maker.
I know that their call is to establish territory, but whenever I hear it I can't help but feel like the animal is making fun of this Yank.  Especially since the boisterous laughter always happens at the most in-opportune times like when the hiking trail cuts across a golf course or when I got a case of severe heat rash with 3 hours on the trail left in front of us.

The Laughing Kookaburra is native to eucalyptus forests of Eastern Australia.   It is the largest member of the Kingfisher Family, and can weigh up to one pound.  The Kookaburra is carnivorous and uses its hard beak, that can grow up to 4 inches, to catch its prey.  Its stout body is cream colored, and its wings and back are brown with blue spots on the shoulders.  Its eyes are accentuated by a dark brown stripe, and a lighter one runs across the top of its head.  Its tail is reddish in color with black bars.


  1. I like them except when they start chattering at 6am on a Saturday outside my window which they did when I was backpacking up the East coast of QLD

    Have a great Xmas / New Years

  2. Quickroute, yeah it is pretty hard to sleep through a kookaburra territory discussion.