Shane Pugh, Clif’s son who has lived in the area since childhood, tells stories of watching one chough digging a shallow pit in the dust to lie in. Then one by one the rest of the choughs would take it in turns to jump on the buried chough – thus teasing out its feathers; using their claws to enhance a dust bath and preening. Truly remarkable!
Yesterday was that very day!!
One can get so very lost in the fast paced hustle-bustle of modern society. Fear, impatience, disconnection, isolation, a need to control and a lack of trust in life are qualities that one sees on a daily basis within human society. All of these mundane concerns fade into the background when nature offers such beautiful gifts. When sitting observing this miraculous moment of nature, nothing else mattered. A conscious clarity was awakened.
“White winged Choughs” are native to Australia and are one of just two surviving members of the family Corcoracidae, the Australian mud-nest builders, and the only member of the genus Corcorax. Choughs are large, black birds — at about 45 cm only a little smaller than a raven or a little larger than a Magpie — but have red eyes and a finer, slightly down-curved beak. In flight, the large white eye-patches in the wings are immediately obvious.
A bit more about these beautiful creatures:
They were once common through the drier woodlands and open forests of south-eastern Australia, from near the South Australia - Western Australia border as far north as Townsville. Although still common in patches where good habitat survives, Choughs are weak flyers and do not cope well with habitat fragmentation, so many surviving populations are isolated and thus vulnerable.
Choughs are territorial and highly social, living in flocks of from about 4 up to about 20 birds, usually all the offspring of a single pair.
Nesting and breeding is communal, all members of the family helping to raise the young — a process that takes several years, as young birds must learn the art of finding food in the dry Australian bush.
The mud nest will be re-rendered to be used again the following season.
White-winged Choughs can often be seen on the fringes of urban areas if natural bush survives nearby. They can become quite tame and will venture into gardens regularly if conditions are suitable: they need trees for shelter nearby, leaf-litter to search for food in, and protection from domestic pets.