December 13, 2010

Noisy Neighbours: Corellas

If you can tolerate noisy neighbours who each day want to drop by your house and party out loud then you may be able to relate to Beachmere's resident flock of Little Corellas.


This is one bird who knows on what side its bread is buttered. A real pack animal with seeming altruistic dedication to its peers, any visit is never just in ones or twos.

There has to be many dedicated gofers  in the flock who fly around all day telling every other member that the food is being served at such and such an address.

The flock seems to have a grazing pattern as it methodically works the township morning and afternoon, north to south. Of course if a good part of the flock are going to feed, there won' be much tucker -- let alone room -- left for other species at the targeted map reference.


By Corella standards out west, the Beachmere flock is not large -- maybe only 60-80  birds -- but for noise and chutzpah they out parrot the rest of the parrots in the locality.  If you decide that you want to shoo the birds away, Litte Correllas will only fly off when they think you are determined about the expulsion and intend serious harm. Bluff won't get you very far as a bogeyman. In the meantime they will offer more collective squawks per minute than any other species in cooee.

Personally I like them. I may find the local Galahs, Black Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, etc more fun to observe as individual birds, but for the Corella, living  is very much about community - a grass roots lifestyle (as they spend so much time on the ground).

One morning I came upon one hobbling from the main drag with a injured wing. The flock drinks from the puddles on the asphalt after overnight rain; and the bird had obviously been hit by  a car. But the whole flock refused to abandon their member. They clumped around it or perched above the bird on the fences or electricity wires. They weren't going anywhere while the injured bird was still under threat.

The photograph above -- taken just before a storm hit our street -- gives a feel for the way these birds gather in bulk. The white dots in the background are more Corellas stretched out along the wires. 

That's Beachmere: one huge aviary. And if there are so many Corellas on the wing there maybe another 30 or species of birds who call the place home or drop in for a holiday.
Sebastian Sholes, fisherman in diner: Hell, maybe we're all getting a little carried away with this. Admittedly a few birds did act strange, but that's no reason to...
Melanie Daniels: I keep telling you, this isn't 'a few birds'! These are gulls, crows, swifts...!
Mrs. Bundy, elderly ornithologist: I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn't stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?
--Alfred Hitchcock/Daphne de Maurier, 'The Birds'

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