Quirky Stories

Laughing Lessons! by Sharon Archer



The baby kookaburras are learning a very important skill at the moment!

How to laugh!

So the gum trees around our place are ringing with ghastly squawks and squeals and rasps, sounding for all the world as though murder is being done in the leafy branches.  Who’d have thought it would be so hard!?!



I found this You-tube so you’ll get an idea of how they sound while they’re training up their vocal chords…


And here’s the fabulous distinctive kookie chuckle in all its glory…  I love it!


a-kookaburrawith S

The kookaburra is my one of my very favourite Australian birds and I feel very privileged to share territory with them in the bush.

So I was absolutely delighted when we camped on our travels and were visited regularly by a friendly local.  Here he is having morning tea with me!


Some kookaburra facts:

  • they belong to the kingfisher family
  • they mate for life!  (a monogamous bird – no wonder I think they’re so cool!)
  • that wonderful infectious laughter is actually a way of letting everyone know about their territory
  • offspring from previous years often stay in the family group and help to nurture the latest batch of young

How about you?  Are you a closet (or not so closet!) ornithologist?  What’s the local feathered character where you live?

And just to finish off with a completely gratuitous picture of our camp kookie!  Looking rather fine, isn’t he!



18 thoughts on “Laughing Lessons! by Sharon Archer”

    1. Ellen, those sea gulls can be very entertaining… though they can be bullies too! Actually we saw a very interesting exchange between a terratorial magpie and a couple of sea gulls – the magpie was definitely the victor on the day.

  1. Aww, those kookies look so cute! Not so much when they’re laughing outside your window atr 4 am though :-/
    We have lots of birdlife out here in our valley whether its the chatter of cockatoos and corella’s in the arvo or the huanting cry of the curlew every night which makes you think someone is being murdered nearby.
    And don’t even get me started on the frogs after all this rain!
    It’s noisy out here in the country!

    1. LOL on your kookaburra early-risers, Amy! They do set up a din at dawn don’t they – not much chop if you’ve been working late!

      Oh, I know just what you mean about the countryside – it is NOT a quiet place! I remember the first night we stayed here it was bedlam! We both had trouble sleeping and we’d been used to living near a major city road!

  2. Sharon, that’s absolutely fabulous! Love the videos. We had lots of kookaburras on the farm where I grew up near Moreton Bay but they’re not very common here on the Sunshine Coast for some reason. I really miss them. Having said that, I’d never heard a baby learning to laugh before. That’s just gorgeous! As you know, I’m a bit of a bird nut here. There’s so many and they’re so beautiful! Some of my faves here are the magpies (another great singer), the peewees, the willy wagtails, the black swans, the kingfishers, the pelicans and the blue herons. Not to mention the galahs, the corellas, the lorikeets and the rosellas. Sometimes a girl doesn’t know where to look for all the bird life! Thanks for posting this – really gave me a smile!

    1. LOL, Jen! Yes, I guess the 5am chorus is a bit much sometimes, isn’t it! And daylight savings doesn’t help – the kookaburras don’t understand that us humans have wound our clocks forward an hour!

  3. That is an awesome bird call!
    In the summertime here, the robins quite often are the early birds. The chickadees hang around all year. When we are out in the wilds the call of the loon across a calm lake can be quite haunting. The yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds compete with the frogs around the small ponds. We have magpies who are quite noisy most of the year as well. I’m not sure if they look like your magpies or not. Crows and ravens hang around also. I must mention the Canada Goose as well. They honk a lot and poop a lot and are very aggressive if you come anywhere near their goslings.

  4. I enjoyed checking out the videos, but not pleased that a song from my childhood has taken up residence as an earworm:

    Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
    Eating all the gumdrops he can see
    Laugh Kookaburra,
    Laugh Kookaburra,
    Gay your life must be.

    (Gay as in the former definition of happy).

  5. Hi Sharon, love your pictures – how tame that camp kookaburra seems!

    Our local birds aren’t as spectacular as yours, but we have plenty of them – robins, sparrows, blue tits, thrushes, blackbirds, magpies and crows. Sea gulls come inland during the winter and we often see and hear them over open spaces, and we have ducks and moorhens in the local parks and waterways, along with Canada Geese and a pair of swans which have taken up residence. I saw a falcon recently – apparently they’ve been nesting in tall buildings in the centre of London for a few years now. And we have many, many pigeons – my least favourite bird!

    1. Hi Annie! He was incredibly tame and as bold as brass! he even landed on the edge of the bucket while I was trying to wash the dishes!

      I love your bird collection! You have white swans, don’t you? We saw white swans in England when we were there years ago – it was pretty exciting since we’re so used to black ones!

      Oh, I know what you mean about pigeons – they’re a real problem in the city. Such scavengers!

      1. Yes, white ones – they’re lovely and don’t they know it – the prima donnas of the bird world 🙂 Historically, all unmarked mute swans were the property of the Crown and I believe that’s still true – so woe betide anyone who meddles with a swan!

        I was thrilled to see black swans when I came to Australia – along with so many other beautiful birds that were new to me.

  6. Love those pictures, Sharon! I am a total ignoramus when it comes to regional birds. Sorry to say. I do know that we have Canadian geese on our golf course pond for the warmer winter in California, though. I love watching them fly in V formation.

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