Biloela Wild Cockatoos

Biloela Wild Cockatoos series by Leila Jeffreys. Gang-Gang Cockatoos live in small flocks in the south east of Australia. They set up supervised crèches for their young so parents can take turns feeding away from the nest site. Juvenile male Red-tailed Black Cockatoos resemble females until puberty, which occurs at around four years of age, but have paler yellow barred underparts. As the birds reach maturity, males gradually replace their yellow tail feathers with red ones.

'Slim' Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

'Slim' Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

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©Leila Jeffreys 2012
Photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper

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Slim lives at the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside, Sydney. He was immediately comfortable with the camera and I would go so far as to say he loved the shoot as much as I did. Confident and curious in my company, he was a pleasure to photograph.

I love how his Sulphur-Crested relatives have moved into our cities and I am not the only one who loves their company. I came across ‘The Cockatoo Wingtag Project’ which is run by the University of Sydney and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. The research project relies on yellow tags affixed to the wings of the Sulphurs that live in the Botanic Gardens. A Facebook page has been set up: facebook.com/cockatoowingtags and people have been asked to report sightings via this page.

The study has revealed that like their privileged human counterparts, the same Cocky may breakfast in the wealthy Sydney suburbs of Mosman, lunch at Potts Point then spend a long afternoon on a balcony in Kirribilli talking to his mates. The affection shown to these birds through posted photos and comments from the public makes me smile. Slim would be happy to know that this project is taking place.

Unfortunately, not everyone loves that Cockies have moved to the city. Cockatoos are often seen as destructive because they chew buildings. They need to chew to keep their beaks in good health and would normally chew trees but with fewer trees around, window sills often provide a tasty alternative. This is why wildlife experts say you should not encourage them to stay around by regularly feeding them. If there is a very special occasion, feed them natural foods such as banksia cones, native seeds, grasses and flowers.

Remember if they start eating a building, it’s not their fault, – they just have to chew!