Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Baudin's are Back!

During the last few weeks, one of our most charismatic birds is returning to the Perth hills in numbers. Baudin's Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) can be heard flying in large flocks and squawking noisily overhead, and if you're lucky you might also see them feeding on plants low in the understorey. This species can easily be confused with the similar Carnaby's Cockatoo - the two are nearly identical to look at and much of their repertoire overlaps, however Baudin's emit a very short 'witcha-witcha' or 'woodchip-woodchip' contact call that gives away their identity.

Baudin's Cockatoos are known among environmental educators as 'the surgeon' because they have a precision tool used for feeding. An extra long upper mandible (beak) helps them probe into the top of the fruit of the local native Marri trees (dubbed a 'honkey nut') and extract the seeds with ease. This is also another feature which can be used to tell them apart from Carnaby's Cockatoos, which have a much shorter upper mandible, and consequently leave behind honkey nuts which have been chewed much more. If you spend some time carefully examining feeding debris, with some practice you can learn how to tell 'who's been there' without having to see or hear the birds.

Here's a female Baudin's Cocky feeding expertly on a Marri fruit in our front yard today - what a thrilling addition to my trip to the mailbox this afternoon!

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