Black Cockatoos in Kew

Photo By David Cook Wildlife Photography [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday my daughter and I pulled over in the car and watched them; they landed briefly in a tree before taking off again back to the river. It’s a particular pine they’re after. Only a stone’s throw from the CBD, yet here they are.

You hear them before you see them. An eerie sound as vast as the entire continent. High, full, wide. A call that stills the soul. Then they start arriving at intervals, always bandied together in threes and fours, all up thirty maybe. They fly overhead once or twice a year, flapping their wings slowly, deeply.

I remember laughing at bird watchers, any kind of spotter; plane, train but particularly bird — all nerds. A friend recently told me that if you go out with a group of them you’ll hear them call in response to a sighting, ‘I concur!’ meaning, ‘I see it too!’ She said it with such conviction, it made me imagine them dotting the landscape, for hours with their foldable chairs, not saying much except the names of birds and, ‘I concur!’ I’m not about to join them but I’m starting to get it … the just sitting and watching.

The birdlife here is rich and abundant, they visit daily, raucously (white cockys), melodiously (blackbirds), rudely (miners), mysteriously (currawongs) and once in a while, royally (kookaburras). All so close to the city. Black cockatoos are my favourite, though. They make me stop. Transporting me back to my vision quest when I did just sit — on the earth for three days — in solitude. And everything slowed. To a dreamy state. Just being.

The other day, at the petrol station, I caught myself dreaming and looked across to the guy at the pump next to me, he was in his own kind of trance. A quick look over to the other pumps and it was the same — all of them lost in deep reveries. It made me laugh, are these the moments when we take the time to stop and dream? When we’re standing still for a few minutes because we have to feed our cars?

Maybe those black cockatoos need to visit more regularly. Maybe I should splash out on a foldable chair.