The Laughing Bird

It’s fascinating listening to the calls of the birds as the dawn breaks. I’m no ‘tweeter’ but seem to recall from somewhere that you hear the birdsong in some sort of order. Certain birds begin the dawn chorus and gradually others join in. I’m not good at identifying many of the calls but maybe I should learn. It’s easy to ‘Google’ these things – it’s my memory that could let me down!

Today though, the birdsongs remind me of when I had the privilege of visiting my brother in Australia last year. It was such a wonderful experience and we were blessed to see so much of that vast country.

In the midst of all the visits – all the sites my brother took us to see – was one ting he desperately wanted us to experience – and that was to hear the Kookaburra bird. I learnt that this bird, the largest of the Kingfisher family, is the symbol of Australian bird life. It has a manic laughter- like call and it’s early dawn and dusk cackling chorus earned it the name of ‘the bushman’s clock’.

I recall getting up early and quietly walking over to the trees where the birds had been seen and heard. On about the third occasion we managed to time I right and were richly rewarded for our persistence. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as these birds began to call to one another. We couldn’t see them for it was still quite dark – but the sound was unbelievable.

It’s so hard to describe the sound, it’s a kind of laugh. What it reminded me of was a memory of the ‘laughing policeman’ we used to have at seaside places in my childhood. You put a ‘penny’ in a slot and this character rocked back and forth with the most raucous laughter.

Well – when I heard these birds they almost made me double over with laughter too. It was amazing as they called to one another from tree to tree.

That will be a memory that stays with me forever – along with the joy of sharing with my brother one of hi greatest pleasures too.

It makes me value these early morning dawns – quickly gone – easily missed – but oh, so special!

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