The Braeside Vandals

A few weeks ago when we finally had a warm sunny day (and we have not seen much since), I dropped in at Braeside Park to get some exercise and see what birds were around. It was the quietest I had ever seen it and the driest. The remaining lagoon has dropped considerably and except for the specialist mud feeders the rest seem to have moved on to deeper waters at other sites. I did get a nice series of shots of a few local birds that are generally resident all year round.

The first in the series was a pair of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. I only saw these two from a distance due to their very white feathers. You would usually hear cockatoos from quite a way off – one of their defence mechanisms is a very loud 100db+ screech. (I have walked underneath a pair of nesting cockatoos and the noise was deafening. ). These two were very quiet, on low branches and quite unafraid of me as I walked up slowly and carefully to see what they were up to. Even when higher in the trees wild cockatoos are quite wary of people and usually fly off. I took a few shots and watched for a while.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo


Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Stripping and chewing on the sap covered bark of a Wattle Tree

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Ripping the bark off the wattle

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

going deep into the wood of the branch

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

coming away with sappy chunks

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

chewing and just casually keeping an eye on me…

I have seen cockatoos and other similar species chew on dead branches (and peoples houses and wooden verandahs) to keep their beaks trimmed and from growing too big, and I have seen a few dead wattle trees around the park with the bark peeled right down – I had thought that the cockatoos had striped the bark after the tree was dead to do some beak maintenance but maybe they are the ones that are killing the tree with a bit of ring barking while getting high on the sap and wood pulp…

4 responses to “The Braeside Vandals

  1. They may be after grubs. They’ve had a go at the wattle over my drive. I didn’t see them get anything but a Yellow-tailed Black cockie pullted out a grub about the size of my thumb.


  2. Pingback: Braeside Birding | The Gap Year and Beyond

  3. Pingback: They are here somewhere… | The Gap Year and Beyond

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