Thursday, December 29, 2011

I hate Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Hate is a strong word I know, and those Cocky crests are very cool.
I awoke to this sight last week and must confess that tears welled in my eyes.  I am getting just a little too attached to  my vegie patch.

Tags lay scattered on the ground marking the graves of melons that might have been. Each little melon snipped at the base for no apparent reason. Pure evil cockatoo behaviour, it's not food, it's fun. I would love to have seen them pulling out the tags, why I ask, why?????
This patch was once filled with beautifully spaced heritage corn grown from seed. Only a few of the 30 odd plants remain. The cucumbers I placed in between them using the three sisters approach are also snipped and kaput.The second lot of corn has also emerged and been trimmed.

What was verdant and lovingly tended is now brown and lifeless.  They even snipped all the flower heads off my marigolds just to add insult to injury.

Now every time I hear their wicked screech I wonder what they're up to. They're into the apples as well, but at least they're eating them, which is entirely justifiable bird behaviour. They're welcome to the pines that surround our house too.

Such strong beaks are capable of so much damage so quickly, especially when they turn up in big numbers.

They have found these pumpkins since I photographed them and have done a thorough job of thinning them. ughhh.  Now I have ugly plastic guards on everything in the hope the little seedlings can get big enough to face the Cockies wrath.

Now the autumn maize is growing,
Now the corn-cob fills,
Where the Little River flowing
Winds among the hills.
Over mountain peaks outlying
Clear against the blue
Comes a scout in silence flying,
One white cockatoo.
Back he goes to where the meeting
Waits among the trees.
Says, “The corn is fit for eating;
Hurry, if you please.”
Skirmishers, their line extendiing,
Shout the joyful news;
Down they drop like snow descending,
Clouds of cockatoos.

At their husking competition
Hear them screech and yell.
On a gum tree’s high position
Sits a sentinel.
Soon the boss goes boundary riding;
But the wise old bird,
Mute among the branches hiding,
Never says a word.

— excerpt from poem by  A B Banjo Paterson 1930s

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Cacatua galerita
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848

Don't be fooled by their good looks. Last year they were snipping off my Giant Russian Sunflowers before they had even flowered. Any suggestions welcome.


  1. Kirsty, how awful!! They are noisy critters too!

  2. I really feel for you, i know what it's like to walk out and see your garden decimated! I shudder when i hear them flying in and setting up in the trees....we have had some success with hanging cd's around in the garden, they don't like it when they catch the light and flash....but they seem to be a bird that doesn't have much fear unfortunately, i am nearly at the stage of netting everything.
    Hope you can move them on!

  3. rotten scoundrels. How awful!

  4. When I started reading I had to google 'Cockatoos' to find out who or what caused all that damage. Now, I can hardly believe it. Knowing how attached I can get to a single plant, I do feel for you. In the same time I started to imagine my own reaction to seeing something like that in my garden. I'd probably call the newspaper, or the police. We, of course, have absolutely nothing that resembles such a beautiful (I mean naughty) bird.

    Also I wanted to say that you leave the most lovely comments. Thank you, so much.
    xx Lilli

  5. Aghh! How devastating! Like you, I hate the way they just do this for entertainment..not life sustaining behavior at all, nasty things. I thought you got more of the black ones over your way?


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young