Can you catch a cockatoo?

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Day 2 at Native Animal Rescue

First fix the Bandicoot’s breakfast. The Bandicoot is a small cute pointy nosed marsupial with a long tail and is sometimes mistaken for a giant rat. Occasionally this happens in reverse and giant rats are mistaken for Bandicoots, as happened with a receptionist at a local business who called the rescue centre for Bandicoot retrieval services and was found petting a large rat and feeding it her lunch in the office one day. It’s Aboriginal name is a Quenda and it is very fast on it’s feet and partial to a cube or two of cheese.


Bandicoots R Us

Next we fed the baby honeyeaters ( a sort of humming bird)and the Wattle bird with delicious insectivore mince. This mince has to be mixed by hand daily while wearing surgical gloves and fed to the baby birds with plastic tweezers. It does not smell the best.

The parrot with the deadly ‘beak and feather’ disease was having his last supper alas and was due to be ‘euthed’ later in the day. It turns out they are called no 28s because that’s what it sounds like they are saying when they call and not because of parrot identification fatigue which was my first assumption.
The long necked tortoise, which looks like a half snake, half tortoise arrangement had perked up considerably as the wound in his shell, caused by the propeller of a boat, had been gaffer taped and was starting to heal. He drew blood with a lightening whitebait snatch from one of the volunteer’s fingers with his razor sharp beak – she had badly underestimated his rate of recovery.

Highlight of the day today was catching the endangered Black Cockatoos from the large aviary which were due for release back into their flocks. Each bird has it’s DNA matched to existing wild flocks so they can return them in exactly the right area which is pretty cool. They are big handsome birds, the males have pink eye rings and big black plumes on their heads. We had to try and catch them with a giant net and a sort of Tom and Jerry chase sequence ensued. The Cockatoo expert guy ( a sort of Cockatoo version of Crocodile Dundee) was pretty impressive with the parrot net and his comprehensive knowledge of these rare birds whose nesting sites, mainly large ancient trees, are rapidly being destroyed. I cuddled Peppi the Possum some more in the absence of anything else available that wouldn’t bite me.

The very tolerant Peppi the brushtail Possum

Drove home happily listening to the Ozzie radio stations which tend to favour mainly eighties soft rock tunes with titles such as “I’m TNT I’m Dynamite,”and ‘I love Women in  uniform.” I’ve never heard so many eighties hits that were never hits here. R&B has not conquered the West Coast airwaves round this neck of the barbie yet. Pick up a Pelican

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