Friday, December 12, 2014


Another  seemingly  never ending  amazing  story  from  the  devoted  wildlife  carers  of  Magnetic  Island , Queensland .

Face  to  face with  lovable  Dracula  in  bright  daylight .

In  what could  be a  pilot scheme for  the new  Abbott Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme, the  Queen of the  Jungle , slowly  recovering   from  her  knee  operation , now looks after  a  Coucal  during  the  day .   She  calls  the  bird  Dracula , yet  it has  another , less  scary  monicker ,  Prickles , because it  looked  like  a  bundle of  spikes as  a  babe . 

Dracula / Prickles  narrowly  escaped  the  blood  lust of a Kookaburra attacking  a Coucal   family  with  three  chicks.   While  the parents  seemed  able to defend  two  chicks from  the  merciless onslaught , the  third  one   looked  like succumbing  to  the  attack.

An  onlooker  saved  the  seemingly  doomed  bird  after   the rest of the  family escaped into the bush . It  was  taken  to  the couple who run the island’s  popular Mexican restaurant, Man Friday , Bev  and  Jason, who have long looked after many  injured  and  stressed  birds. In fact they have  just been  handed a  troubled  Galah .

Bev is shown here with the small  Coucal, looking like a Kiwi, soon  after it was  saved  .  As Prickles  grows , she regularly  takes  him down  to  the  Queen of  the  Jungle’s  residence and places  him  in what amounts to  day care  in  a large   aviary   so  that  he  can   get used  to  other birds and exercise . The  Queen  , shuffling about , talks  to  him through the wire , addressing him as  Dracula,  the name given to another of  his  kind, because he  was plain ugly , she   looked after  years  ago. The  Coucal  parades about in the same cage in  which Miss Wong , the Torres Strait  Pigeon, cavorted  before  eventually  escaping  to  the  rainforest  at  Mission  Beach .

Known as  the   Swamp Pheasant and Swamp Cuckoo as well as Coucal, the bird emits a loud whooping call -"Coop, coop", or "Book, book", according to What Bird Is That ?, and is the only Australian Cuckoo that does not deposit its eggs in nests of  other birds .

The Prime Minister's Office huffily informed this  blog no nanny who calls a child placed  in her care Dracula will get accreditation  under  the  revamped  PPL.  NEXT: Traumatised  Curlew  called  Motley  takes refuge in the wardrobe.