Crackle crackle… plop! Crackle crackle…. plop! This is the sound I heard around me this morning on my walk. It is a still day, and I have heard the same sound on other still days. Having investigated the noise about a month ago, I recognise it immediately and smile to myself. This is the sound of contented parrots.
The gum trees have fruited and produced what we colloquially call ‘gumnuts’, which the Crimson Rosellas and the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos love to eat. The ‘crackle crackle’ is the bird picking the gumnut and cracking it, and the plop is the sound of the seed pod hitting the ground, or a tree branch, or me if I am in the wrong spot, when the birds have eaten the kernel.
I never put out enough bird seed to sustain the diet of the wild birds, and it is satisfying to see them eating their natural food. The birds are usually found high in the tree while eating gumnuts, hidden by dense clumps of leaves. When they drop the empty shell, it often bounces off lower branches. Identifying where the ‘plop!’ is coming from, and then looking up is often the easiest way of finding the birds. Photographing them while they eat can be tricky as there are so many leaves and branches to get in the way of ‘the shot’. However, I have managed to capture a couple of birds feeding on gumnuts.