Carnaby’s Cockatoos in a Perth backyard

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“A wonderful surprise, right outside my living room window at 9.30am today! Three of the large and noisy, rare and endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus latirostris), with their distinctive white cheek patches and white-flashed tails, getting stuck into the brilliant orange candle-like (lingam-like, you could say!) flowers of my native Banksia shrub (Banksia ashbyii).

“I have never seen them so close to the house although they are often around the larger trees in this district, Bentley, just 15 minutes from Perth CBD. What a nice, if raucous, start to the day!

“They pretty much destroyed some of my best Banksia blooms, chopping them off with their powerful bills after feeding on their nectar. Sorry all, the pictures are not great because I was completely taken by surprise and had to use my mobile quickly, after creeping out of the house very carefully to get closer to them (I lie, I am not such a great photographer actually!), but a single Carnaby’s is visible roughly at top centre of the shrub – it’s facing left, with its bill and white cheek patch visible.

“The other yellow flowered shrub to the left/centre is a hybridised Grevillea alba, another native plant. I plant only Australian, and preferably Western Australian, native plants in the soil of my garden, except in the raised-bed veggie patch, and allow myself to play a bit with exotics only in hanging baskets and pots/containers. This is the kind of dividend that native planting brings: lots of native birds.

“For the information of readers, the Carnaby’s Cockatoo is endemic to Western Australia.”

Ilsa Sharp
Perth, Western Australia
22nd August 2014

Note: The image of the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo on the left is courtesy of Dr Eric Tan.

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