Today I witnessed a butcherbird in action.
KAF dad noticed through a window that our pool was littered with what looked like white feathers. Our first thoughts were, aye, the neighbor chooks* have been up to something. Me just being me, I kept staring at the feathers floating in the pool, even after the KAF dad had left the window.
Then I saw a feather float down from a tree on the other side of the fence. Then another…. and another. I searched the tree’s boughs and saw a black, white, and grey colored bird flapping and tugging at something. It looked like it was losing it’s feathers. Curious, I went outside to get a better look.
It was, I later found via Google, a butcherbird. It was tearing up a limp budgerigar (a.k.a. ‘budgie’) that it had impaled in the tree. It was the budgie’s feathers(closer inspection confirmed some were green and black-tipped) that were all over the pool and by the fence.
For some reason I wanted to provoke the butcherbird -not hurt it, mind you. Would it fly away or attack me? Would it leave its victim? At first I tried using a long pool cleaning net but it was just a bit too short. So, like a mature adult, I threw a couple big tree seeds at it. It flew to a branch not too far away and that was it. I hope it gets to finish its meal later.
If I never get to see a live koala, platypus, or echidna, before I leave Australia, at least I got to see this. Of all the Australian fauna I’ve observed, this has been the most violent episode of Australian wildlife that I’ve personally witnessed. And it was in our own back yard!
*’Chook’ is Aussie slang for chicken.