Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Guess Who's Dropping in for Dinner; Cockatoos Look for a Safe Place to Start a Family

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Guess Who's Dropping in for Dinner; Cockatoos Look for a Safe Place to Start a Family

Article excerpt

NOW that the weather is heating up and Christmas is drawing near, some noisy, raucous visitors could be heading your way a and not just for Christmas lunch.

Gympie residents may have been hearing sulphur-crested cockatoos screeching as they look for a mate and start a family.

Give them a Christmas gift by being a Backyard Buddy to these clucky cockies.

Backyard Buddies is a free program run by Australia's Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. Each month, you get a Backyard Buddies email (B-mail) with tips to make your backyard inviting for native animals.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos featured in December's B-mail. Sign up for B-mail and download a fact sheet about cockatoos at www.backyard buddies.net.au.

aAlmost everyone will have seen a sulphur-crested cockatoo. They are the familiar large white birds with a lemon-yellow crest and an infamous blood-curdling call,a Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife chief executive Steve Corbett said. aThey breed from May to September in northern Australia.

aTo attract a mate, a male sulphur-crested cockatoo struts Jagger-style towards the female with his crest held high and his tail feathers spread out wide. He nods and bobs his head from side to side like he is dancing to his own tune, and chuckles. He is a real charmer.

aSulphur-crested cockatoos lay one to three eggs in tree hollows and both parents incubate them for 30 days.

aThe chicks stay in the nest for two months after hatching, and then remain with their parents and family group indefinitely.

aThat's why if you see one cocky around, chances are there's many more about, too.

aYou might see juvenile sulphur-crested cockatoos out and about now.a

Steve said sulphur-crested cockatoos feed in big flocks on the ground.

aThey love to munch seeds, roots, berries, leaf buds, nuts, fruits, grains and insects.

aThey are a brainy bunch. While the flock feeds, a few cockies stay as lookouts in the trees above. If any danger is spotted, the lookouts cry blue murder and the whole flock rises to safety in the air in a deafening cacophony.

aIf you want to be a buddy to cockatoos, a great thing you can do is plant local native plants, grasses, shrubs and trees that they love in your garden. …

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