Animal Diaries Archive
Tik educates the public: part 2
24 November 2006
Education lies at the very heart of our work here at Australia Zoo and, as mentioned last week, Tik (a Laughing Kookaburra and member of our Wandering Wildlife team) takes his role very seriously. Injured and unable to return to the wild, Tik does his very best to ensure that his friends still in the wild live long and healthy lives. To this end (and now that you know the difference between him, the ‘famous’ Laughing Kookaburra and his not-so-famous relative the Blue-winged Kookaburras), Tik turns his attention to educating Zoo visitors about what not to feed kookaburras.
In our travels, Tik and I meet many lovely people who simply adore kookaburras. We both delight in hearing their stories of kookaburra encounters, but become perturbed when the conversation turns to food. Whenever we hear that people are feeding kookaburras we always have to ask, ‘What do you feed them?’. Nine times out of ten the answer is mince. This horrifies Tik, and the need to educate becomes of utmost importance.
In the wild, kookaburras are supposed to catch their food. They often eat insects and small reptiles with tough skin. Meat like mince and sausage, however, is very sticky and if eaten can stay stuck in the bird’s beak. This is problematic because Tik and his mates don’t have tongues to clean their beaks, so the meat just stays there and festers. Rotting beaks is a common threat to native birds fed soft meat, and, is a death sentence. People who think they are helping the birds are actually hurting them.
So next time you are about to feed your friendly neighbourhood kookaburras some mince, think about Tik and his friends and change the meat, or better still, let them catch their own. This way you will be able to enjoy our true blue little Aussie natives for many years to come.
Our Amazing Laughing Kookaburras
According to an Aboriginal legend, the kookaburra's famous chorus of laughter every morning is a signal for the sky people to light the great fire that illumina ...more
On display in the Crocoseum