Look at the desperation in his little face.

Look at the desperation in his little face.

Some of the flock on the ground & in the trees.

Some of the flock on the ground & in the trees.

We drove past Enmore Park yesterday to see part of the park lawn covered in big white birds & they weren’t Ibis.  We finished what we were doing & headed back to Enmore Park with the hope that the birds were still there & fortunately, they were.

They were Little Corellas, around 80-100 of them. Some were grazing on the grass, while others were giving expert tree pruning to a couple of Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) trees.  They delicately snapped off the tips of the branch & nibbled on the papery seeds.

Some were rolling on the ground playing & the birds knew that all eyes in the park were on them. Natural showoffs – they loved it.

The background noise was a constant “Hhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa! Hhhhhhhhhhaaaaa! Hhhhhhaaaaaaaa!” pitched to sound similar to a sick lawnmower & just as loud.  I knew it was a baby Little Corrella, but where was it?

Suddenly some birds flew to the branches above the tree under which we were standing & the sick lawnmower sound intensified.  It didn’t take too long to find the fledgling on a branch with both parents.

The parents looked exhausted, but perhaps I am projecting.  The baby had his head thrown back, beak open & at the top of his lungs was going, “Hhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa! Hhhhhhhhhhaaaaa! Hhhhhhaaaaaaaa!”   My Babel Fish translated this as, “Help! I am starving! I need food! Lots of food! Now! OMG I am dying! Food! Give me food!”  And on it went.

Over the next 10-minutes or so the parents looked the other way, they changed branches & they came together briefly to give each other a supportive kiss.   The little one followed & the crying only stopped for that brief moment when it drew breath.  I swear, the crying could be heard half way across the park.

Then, after a silent cue, which I missed, both parents stepped towards their baby taking a side each & proceeded to prune preen him all over.  They pruned preened his head, then his belly, under his wings & even his back.  He received the equivalent of a family hug & it was beautiful to watch.  He responded well by raising the volume, but unfortunately, no food, only kisses.

Then off the parents flew, landing on a tree with baby close behind.  The sick lawnmower sound joined them & the rest of the Little Corellas did not seem to mind at all.

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Little Corellas mate for life & are dependent on tree hollows for their nest – not that we have many in Marrickville LGA.   Both parents help with raising the chick from egg until they are independent.  Most of their food is derived from the ground & comprised of grass seeds & other grains.  Little corellas need to drink every day.

I have noticed that there are more birds in the parks when Council doesn’t mow the grass.  To me the joy of seeing wild birds completely outweighs a couple of inches of un-mown grass.  It would be good if Council left sections un-mown for a bit, just for the birds – so they could eat.

I am not meaning knee-high grass here. I mean, instead of mowing the whole park, mow half, wait for three weeks before mowing the other half. In this way, there should be grass seeds available for the birds for greater periods.

Grass doesn’t need to be long for it to produce food for wildlife.   Leaving some lawn longer would be very supportive for biodiversity.  Judging by the interest shown, a lot of people were like us, feeling great joy at seeing these birds & hearing the very loud fledgling.

Mum & Dad start to prune their chick.

Mum & Dad start to preen their chick.

I've gone a little overboard, but I love these images.

I’ve gone a little overboard, but I love these images.

Whole body preening & still he screams.

Whole body preening & still he screams.

All that love from Mum & Dad must have felt great because he can barely stand up.

All that love must have felt great because he can barely stand up.

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