The Kookaburra is a much-loved Australian bird, their visits always welcomed by all, their laughter copied by children from an early age. Their arrival at our beach camp and school by the sea invariably brings happiness and joy, as older folk fumble about for their cameras.
As the weather cools, especially if rain is predicted, their visits become more frequent. On wet days, they man each fence post surrounding our vegetable garden back at home, like sentries on duty, waiting for worms to emerge from the mud. Their call is often a seasonal indicator.
The name comes from Wiradjuri language, guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call. One can imagine the alarm and perhaps fear experienced by the early imperialists of Australia on hearing for the first time, the cacophonous laughter of the kookaburra, a bird call so exotic and alien to their English consciousness.
They are my favourite bird, not so much for their call but for their cute haircut, hints of blue feathering, and hunting knowledge, seen in their alert eyes.