In the latest Bush Bites, Tim Spencer shares his recent experience with a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo.
Loving birds is one thing, but photographing them is a completely different matter. It can be endlessly frustrating but once in a while something unexpected occurs.
Several weeks ago I wandered up the back of my place near the end of Savages Road, camera and 300mm lens on my shoulder. I heard a close-by noise and looked to my left and there, not more than 3m away and at head height was a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. This bird had an agenda and was in no way concerned about my close proximity. A tall but narrow Wattle tree was the focus of attention. Half the tree had been stripped of bark and wood exposing a cavity within.
Went back to get my wife Carolyn, “hey, you got to come and see this” We spent about 20 minutes watching as the bird diligently removed large fragments of wood and bark, there was no way I would put a finger anywhere near that beak! I stayed on another 10 minutes, had trouble lining up under trees as I was a bit too close for the camera lens focus.
Anyway, as I said, Persistence pays off and the bird was finally rewarded for this with a fat, juicy, Witchetty Grub. After devouring the grub the bird flew off in answer to a mate. Looking at the tree and damage, it was clear the bird had extensive knowledge about getting such treats. The amount of damage and a similar place on the other side but lower down where the bird had initially tried led me to believe that at least an hour had been spent in securing the grub! Yum!
Words and Photographs by Tim Spencer