Stop, Kookaburra, Leave Some There For Me
by Kevin Shi
The maniacal laughter of the kookaburra is something I never put much thought into. I remember how frequently it woke me up at my family home, the raucous sound signalling the start of my day.
I’d be hard pressed to find a school kid in Australia who didn’t grow up to the lyrics of the song and nursery rhyme:
“Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he.”
I’ll be honest, I forgot everything other than those first two lines. A quick Google search revealed a line I find oddly appropriate in hindsight:
“Stop, Kookaburra, leave some there for me.”
That may have been exactly what I was thinking on my last camping trip up to the Blue Mountains. The chilling winter air was refreshing, comparable to a swim in the ocean at the crack of dawn. Sitting perched on the branches above our campsite were half a dozen kookaburras. Yet the kookaburras did not leave any for me. The snags I had cooked on the barbeque were quickly served, our first meal after setting up our tents. And just as quickly as they were cooked, the mischievous birds swooped.
That was the last I saw of my lunch. Truly a tragedy. We learned our lesson – in all our following meals, we huddled up, forming a protective wall around our food.
Author Bio: A student at the University of Sydney, engaged in a citizen science research project.