Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Five Fun Facts About Kookaburras

Last week I wrote 5 Fun Facts about Emus, as Emma the Eager Emu was the star of the first book launch last Saturday morning. This week, with one more book launch to go on Friday night, it is Kelly the Kookaburra’s turn to share some fascinating key facts about herself.
In last weeks post I mentioned that  emus like to steal food from unsuspecting picnickers and campers, which leads me to my first fascinating fact about kookaburras.DSCN0249
1. Did you know that Kookaburras are the largest member of the Kingfisher family? So you would expect them to eat fish, but they don’t. Kookaburras much prefer worms, insects, mice and even snakes and lizards. They particularly  like to dive from high in a nearby gum tree and swoop down to steal a sausage or two from your BBQ. (Maybe the sausages look a bit like a snake or lizard sizzling on the hot plate). Kookaburras don’t need to drink as they get all the water they need from their food.
2. Kookaburras live in native bushland all over Australia but also among our many coastal towns and cities. It is easy to see them regularly around your backyard especially if you frequently feed them a bit of raw mince meat by leaving the meat out in a bird feeder or on your verandah railing. They will get rather demanding though so don’t start this habit unless you are prepared to do it everyday. Note: Like most native wild birds it is best to let Kookaburras find their own food, not become reliant on people.
3. All throughout the Australian Bush you can hear kookaburras call out in the early morning or towards the evening. Their unusual call sounds more like a great big belly laugh as if something has really amused them, but they are not really laughing at all, they are actually telling other kookaburras that this is their territory.
4. Kookaburras live in families just like us. They mate for life and raise a family together, with the older siblings helping to raise the younger babies. Chicks are born blind and with absolutely no feathers which take a month to grow. (No wonder they need help from their older brothers and sisters.)
5. Most people see the common kookaburra around their homes, however further north and close to the coast is also the blue winged kookaburra aptly named for the colour in its wings. They are both 47 cm (18.5 inches) long and weigh about 0.5 kg (1 lb), interestingly that means a kookaburra weighs about as much as an emus egg!
Here is a link to a video you can watch and hear a kookaburra laugh.
Added Bonus
“Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree” is a well known old song that was taught as a round to kids in schools all over Australia for many years. Below is a link to a version of the original song being played in a round and a second link to the words of all the verses of the song (with a few extras that have been added over the years).