One of the family – laughing kookaburra
Pastel on Colourfix paper
Australia's laughing kookaburra is the world's heaviest kingfisher and a real icon in literature, art and the story of every Aussie. Their hysterical, over-the-top laughing get togethers form a part of the very fabric of country Oz life. Joyful news for me here is that a family of 9 nest every year in the hollow of a huge swamp gum opposite my front gate. The matriarch mates with the dominant male and together with last year's offspring the whole family pulls together in chick raising duties. I get so much joy from their company and at the same time our resident frogs live in terror of the laughing death. Sometimes our kookas swallow an unwary finch or wren and we even photographed one swallowing a WHOLE black rat (It took a full 30 minutes to choke down). Fearsome appetites mean nothing is really safe from the kooka's powerful bite...and yes that does include my finger sometimes.