The fruit-raiding forays of Cacatua greedyeta

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: The fruit-raiding forays of Cacatua greedyeta
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:35:23 +1100
During the past few years visits by Sulphur-crested Cockatoos – AKA Cacatua greedyeta around here – to the home garden appear to have increased markedly, and the birds are expanding their foraging to include food sources seemingly ignored in the past.
I've long given up on an almond crop after C. greedyeta discovered the trees years ago. Last autumn, when the White Cedar tree shed its leaves, they promptly consumed all the berries (about four wheelbarrow loads) as we watched and concluded they possessed the ingestive capability of a wood-chipper's tree shredder.
Then, a couple of weeks back, C. greedyeta deprived us of our quince crop. They've never touched it before. Nonetheless, I remained philosophical, "Never mind, we'll just have to do without the heady, herbaceous aroma of ripening quinces wafting through our sunny kitchen come autumn," I said.
"Maybe you can get some quince-scented air freshener and spray it around," Brilliance-the-brat, suggested.
The raucous raiders inspected our apricot tree and, by sundown the following day, the apricots had gone west in the cargo pods of the C-130. greedyeta fleet. They moved to the medlar tree but seemed at a loss – like we used to be until we discovered how to make medlar jam – as to what to do with the strange looking fruit that wouldn't seem out of place in a medieval witch's kitchen.
Next, they attacked the Satsuma plum tree. For years this spindly little tree blessed us with a plethora of small, sweet plums come late February. Alas, within 48 hours C. greedyeta put paid to that.
"Ah so," we shrugged, "sayonara to Satsuma crop of  '08."
Then, the cockatoos struck the crab apple tree. They've never touched it before. But what a mess they made of it this year. Ah well, no crab apple jell to put on roast rabbits no more.
After that, they began feasting on the catkins of the neighbour's Silver Birch. A little surprising because I thought the fruit would prove too fiddly for the big cockatoos to handle. But no, I under-estimated their foot-to-mouth manipulative prowess. Over past years they've ignored the neghbour's birch, but not so the Crimson Rosellas. But the the rosellas have refined table manners, they don't rip, tear and strip like the sulphfur-crested coyotes do. Interestingly, the rosellas have never touched our Silver Birch, so hopefully the cockatoos will follow suite touch birch wood.
Finally – and, by heck, I hope it is finally – C. greedyeta turned their avarice to the fruits of exotic cypress shrubs in a neigbouring garden (they must possess the metabolism of a landfill feral goat) and, again, what a mess they made.
A fruitless John K. Layton
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