By Dandy Pheasant Coucal
An Australian story by Greg Grimmett
Hello and welcome (bonjour et bienvenue) to my story. Allow me to introduce myself.
I am Dandy the Pheasant Coucal of Amity Point, Australia.
My Name is pronounced DanDee!
Would you like to hear my story so far?
I cannot tell you how it will end but up until now it’s been a lot of fun.
Please settle down and enjoy my adventures to date...
When I was very young I had wonderful parents who looked after both my sister and I.
Can you see me? I’m the one on the right, with the big mouth
They fed me on all sorts of good things like
(credits: Wikicommon, Pudding4brains)
(credits: Wikicommon, Thomas Brown)
And flying insects
(credits: Wikicommon, NP Holmes)
A few days after I hatched, my parents, my sister and I were out searching for food.
Before we left the nest they both said “Stay close to us in the swamp and NEVER NEVER EVER CROSS THE ROAD ON YOUR OWN.”
WELL! I was chasing a lacewing to eat...
(credits: Wikicommon, Bruce Marlin Date)
...and it flew out into the road so I ignored my parent’s warning and chased it right across the road.
WHAT A PILLOCK (fool, idiot, Dumbo etc.)
My parents called and called but after I ate the lacewing and realised where I was I felt really scared. I was too scared to move.
I froze and cocked my mucus preen gland in fear.
My parents could not cross the road because of the traffic and I was too scared to run back to them.
Finally after many, many hours my parents quietly moved away. They were starving, they needed to feed my sister but I was still too scared to move.
Eventually a kind human saw me and called Wildcare Straddie.
Stell and Greg Grimmett, wildlife heroes, rescuers with Wildcare Straddie
My human foster parents came in minutes and after they had tried to find my parents they took me home with them.
My human foster parents were very kind. They fed me with ox heart, insectivore mix and meal worms.
Then they made me a nice nest in a little cage so I had somewhere to sleep at night
Who did that?
Early the next morning they took me out of my nest cage so I could go to the toilet then they fed me again.
All of a sudden they put me back into the nest cage and started to drive away.
I didn’t want to be back in the cage. I wanted to go and hunt for food.
I got very angry because I didn’t know we were going to look for my parents.
So I dropped one. A huge dollop of stink mucus from my preen gland...
It looked like that....
Pa said he thought someone’s septic tank was overflowing and Ma said “Did you just blow off?” It smelt really bad.
We went back to the place where they found me and called and called but my parents and sister didn’t answer.
Ma put me on the ground and I started to run into the swamp. She caught me and (forgive me I was upset and scared) I dropped another dollop of stink mucus on her hands.
I’m so sorry now. When you are young it is so easy to have accidents: Especially at night or in the early morning. It happens! OK?
(Camouflage means “the way by which animals escape the notice of predators, usually because of a resemblance to their surroundings”) Now isn’t Camouflage a big word for a little bird!
As I grew my feathers developed and I learnt how to camouflage myself.
This means merging yourself with the background so nobody can see you.
Pa agreed to take the photos so here is how DanDee hides in full view.
First I wanted you to see how pretty I am. So here I am eating heart.
Now here I am in front of the bush in which I’m going to hide myself. Can you see how my colours match everything around me?
I’ve walked two steps and only my wing shows. Can you see it?
I’ve walked another two steps. Can you see me now?
Here, have a really good look. Can you see me? My beak is showing at the bottom left of the picture.
Do you give in? All right I’ll just spread a little bit of wing so you can see me.
That is camouflage.
Excellent so goannas don’t eat you!
Fish can do the same thing too! Have a look at this flounder changing its appearance.
I was out in the swamp behind Ma and Pa’s place last Saturday searching for slaters and anything else that looked tasty when I heard “Coo coo coo” (If you really want to hear what I heard get Mum or Dad to fill a bottle with water, then turn it upside down and it will make almost the same sound as the water flows out).
It was my uncle Petronius Cornelius Pheasant Coucal. He saw me and said,” Are you the little chick that crossed the road?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Do you want to go home and make a family with your sister and your Mum and Dad?”
“Yes,” I said, “but first I have to say goodbye to Ma and Pa, my foster parents.”
“OK” said Petronius Cornelius, “But don’t be too long I need to catch lots more food before dark”
I ran back to the house and tapped on the door: “Let me! Let me in!”
Ma let me in and I said “I’m going now! My Uncle Petronius Cornelius has come to take me home.”
Ma and Pa were so happy!
As I ran back I gave them a final curtsy then on to Uncle Petronius Cornelius and more adventures
The End for Now