Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gang Gangs came to visit

We had six Gang Gang Cockatoos come to say hello this morning. You can't mistake their 'creaky door' call, so when I was heading up to the egg grading room I looked around to see where they were - expecting to see two. And there were six of them wheeling around in the air having a great (and noisy) time.

The dogs were not impressed but once the Gang Gangs settled down in trees for a feast they were OK. Unlike most other cockatoos, who utilise hollows in old trees, Gang Gangs like to nest in young trees.
The females use their very strong beaks to create nesting cavities in tall trees, or sometimes in trees which aren't so tall. Now and then they build a nest in a hollow they have created just a metre or two off the ground.

The loss of tree cover and feeding habitat across south-eastern Australia through land clearing for industrial, commercial and residential development has decimated Gang Gang numbers in recent years. As a result the Gang-Gang is now listed as vulnerable.
On the farm we used to see them frequently at various times of the year but now it's very occasional (hence my excitement this morning). This was only the second time I've seen them this year. It's sad to think that within our lifetime we won't have any Gang Gangs, or Powerful Owls, Lace Monitors, Potoroos, Badicoots, Giant Gippsland Earthworms - the list goes on and on. What do we think we are doing as a supposedly intelligent species?
It will probably take a few more years for some of us to realise that we are a part of 'the 'environment' not apart from it, but don't hold your breath.
A great outcome of the global economic problems which our politicians and business leaders have created would be a total re-think of priorities. But of course that won't happen - all they want is to get back on the helter-skelter of growth and to hell with anything else!
Money is the driver even though in the end - none of us can take it with us! Have a look at the 'Steady State Economy' model at http://www.bassbush.htmlplanet.com/rich_text_4.html
Unfortunately there are too many vested interests in our current system to allow it to work.
The Gang Gang or to use its 'real' name Cacatua roseicapilla has short muscular legs, and feet with two toes forward and two back, very suitable for climbing and grasping. Most prefer to nest in trees.
They usually eat seeds, but when nothing else is available many are also attracted to the fruit of trees such as apples, plums, cherries, and the seeds of hawthorn, firethorn and cotoneaster. Many eat the seeds of native and exotic conifers.

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