Chainsaws of the Sky

I’m going to slap the next person who tells me how peaceful living in the country must be.

Peaceful, huh?? Yeah, nothing much disturbs the equilibrium in the country!

Like the other night. The open window directly above the bed didn’t just let in the cool night air – the weird sounds of the night came streaming through too!

‘What’s that noise?’ I hissed, nudging Pilchard with my elbow.

‘Huh?’ he murmured, rousing slightly, then rolling over to return to sleep. Just like a man! But I digress …

‘I hear something!’ I persisted. Another nudge in the small of the back and he was awake. Of course the sounds had stopped.

‘I don’t hear anything.’ he mumbled, predictably! Just like a man!! But I digress…

The burnouts up at the corner stopped and the cars roared past, drowning out all other sounds for a moment. Then … peace and quiet reigned. Or would have, if not for a smorgasbord of unidentifiable noises.

Pilchard was having trouble identifying which one I meant.

Was it the possums rampaging over the roof like a herd of manic, tap dancing baby elephants? They HAD to be possums – the alternative was too scary to contemplate! Although the feral cats were giving them a run for their money. A distinct ‘meow’ and another thump on the roof. Were they fighting the possums?

Duelling owls – Southern Boobook and Tawny Frogmouth – hooted and boomed their way into the night, while a disturbance in the force set the ducks on the dam quacking and flapping. Restless ewes bleated, unable to find their lambs in the night. Yeah, once they’re ALL awake you’ll find YOURS!

Frogs croaked in the fountain and the mosquito’s unmistakeable dentist-drill whine hovered round the bed. And if I listened really carefully, I could hear the pitter patter of countless tiny gum blossom caps pinging onto the roof, ready to be scrunched underfoot and turn to dust.  Oh joy.

Then a smaller, scratching noise. That’s what I’d heard. Sadly not yet in death throes from total toxic overload, a rat inched its way down the chimney towards the please-god-lethal-this-time stash of rat bait. Wondering why we’re deliberately luring rats inside? Well … the bait isn’t just lethal to rats, and call us crazy, but we didn’t REALLY want an array of random dead birds and animals around the house in the morning.

Although if the cat chose to kill and eat a loaded rat, there wasn’t much we could do …

Now I’d identified the strange noise, maybe, just maybe I could fall asleep!

But then, even more dreadful than the other noises, we heard it. A hideous banshee screeching and shrieking broke the dawn in two as it swooped down closer and closer, so loud it precluded all rational thought – let alone sleep. Leaves, twigs and small branches rained from the trees all around and the air shimmered with sounds of mass destruction.

Yes, the ‘Chainsaws of the Sky’ had arrived.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is an agent of evil magnificent bird! Ask anyone – except us!! As the 30-strong flock circles above for what seems like hours each morning, we fantasise about wreaking vengeance and violent death. But sadly, there’s not enough toxic rats to go round.

Although, to be fair, apart from the morning, evening and any other time of day or night they damn well please, they’re pretty quiet!

Pet owners (!) speak of above average avian intelligence – and we are forced to agree. They know EXACTLY when we’re not guarding the fruit ripe enough to destroy by digging through to the nourishing kernel inside. And their devil spawn offspring – the dastardly, defective, demented love children of a hedge trimmer and a Dalek – learn to chainsaw use their beaks by nipping off young, tender shoots – often fatal to the tree. Unless there’s anything else around they can nip off at the base – like corn, from which there’s no recovery.

Are they Australia’s most omnipresent bird? Lately, they’ve been everywhere we’ve been – but maybe they’re just tormenting us by following us around?!

Sadly, I can’t claim the epithet ‘Chainsaw of the Sky’ as my own having first seen it HERE where the wonderful Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge thousands of kilometers from me describes disturbingly similar behaviours.

A sadly apt description, I fear I’ll be using a lot more as my Australian Adventures continue!  Maybe I’ll get some peace and quiet on the road, ‘cos it sure ain’t happening here!
Happy travels!!

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28 comments

  • @JenHAHa – Welcome! And thanx for following – sadly, my story is ALL TRUE … it’s not all sunshine, surf and sand downunde here in OZ!
    @TexaGermaNadian – Welcome and thanx to you too! The noises change with the seasons – so you NEVER get used to them!
    @Aaron – Hey, everyone, meet my new best mate!! So glad you’re following – and the chainsaws are EXACTLY like the dinosaur!! Great analogy!!

  • you converted me…I am a follower now 🙂 Have a great weekend.

  • Just found your blog on the blog hop a TexaGermaNadian.

    Your writing is wonderful. It is so narrative that I felt like I was right there as the chainsaw’s descended. It actually painted the sound in my head of the ancient dinosaurs you see in movies sweeping down for their prey.

    I can’t wait to explore a little more 🙂

  • Haha, I agree with Jen’s comment above, couldn’t tell if it was fact of fiction at first either!! Your writing is so great, and you paint a fun picture 🙂 Chainsaw of the sky?!? Holy cow, that would scare the living daylights outta me. And although I am from the city, totally know about those country noises. My grandparents had a ranch in Texas, and between the dogs barking, coyotes howling, crickets chriping, cows mooing, it was lucky if you got any sleep.
    I am so happy you chose to link up for the Storytellers Hop!! I love finding great new blogs 🙂

  • Just found your blog on TexaGermaNadian’s Story Teller Blog Hop. At first I wasn’t sure if it was fiction or fact. I like your narrative! We just watched the silly movie Furry Vengeance with Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields and he was dealing with forest creatures. Your story/experience made me giggle because you reminded me of his character. No one would believe him!

    I’m a new follower. I just linked to my first post on the blog hop, but I plan to write write soon.
    Jen Hemming and Hawing Again

  • @Maxabella – I sense a kindred spirit! Can’t wait to give your Xmas lights idea a blast!! Thanx for dropping in!
    @Manzanita – welcome back! It has been known to be quieter than this – I think summer has something to do with it!

  • Holy Moly, What a symphony of sounds. And you are a detective to each and every thing. When I first moved to Montana, on a summer night when the windows were open, I couldn’t sleep because of the quiet …….. and that was in town!!!!

  • I am also permanently at war with those chainsaws. They roost in the 3 gums in our front yard and poo all over the front entrance. WELCOME! And the noise, dear god the noise!!! God, I LOATHE them.

    Sorry about that, I just get worked up!! Long story getting cut short, we tried EVERYTHING to get rid of them. Do you know what worked? Our flashing Christmas lights. They HATE them. So it is permanently Christmas at ours! Yay!!! x

  • @Mary – Of course not! But ‘beautiful’ and ‘pest’ aren’t mutually exclusive!! I couldn’t resist using ‘Chainsaws of the Sky’ – so the post had to live up to it!
    @Betty – it depends what night noises you get used to! A week in the country and you’d miss the noises – well, maybe …
    @Marshall Stacks – and the hell of mating koalas is just conditioning for the bloodcurdling cry of the barking owl – often mistaken for an actual murder in progress!
    @Gina – Haha! It’s the opposite in OZ!
    @Scentsy – thanx! You’ll have some great ideas by then of both what and what NOT to do!!
    @LV – We still do both! Maybe I’m a little more backwoodsy then I thought …
    @Windsmoke – AAARRRGGGHHH!! I feel your pain!

  • We camped for about a week in a caravan park in Wodonga every night the Possums would come out to play on the roof of our caravan, all night long thump, thump, thump, scratch, scratch, scratch, nearly drove me insane, i know how it feels.

  • That sounds like when I was growing up and living in the back woods. We opened the windows for the breeze. I wish I could do that today. However, as you said, you could here all kinds of sound. We had so many and so often, we just accepted them on went on to sleep. You could even leave your door unlocked. Those days are no more.

  • Scentsy world domination, especially in Australia, wont’ be long, so I hope to be visiting you soon. I love your sense, or should I say, “scents” of humor. 🙂

  • hi again ….thanks again for stopping by 🙂 the thing with the north gate being open is just a slang for us here in the south (being when its cold we blame it on the north) My finance lives in Michigan.

    Hugs n love
    gina

  • a tree full of squarking cockies at 4am is just conditioning you for the real terror of screaming shreiking mating koalas. they sound like a murder happening.
    ah yes ‘the country’ – “hear the serenity”.

  • Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY

    Sorry LOL, but that was quite funny! I frequently have trouble sleeping in the countryside because of several annoying noises.
    Loved the line…”…apart from the morning, evening, and any other time of day or night they’re pretty quiet!” Priceless!!

    Big hugs!
    B xx

  • Would it cost our friendship were I to ask how could anything so beautiful could possibly be a pest? We have problems with birds in general for a week or two in the spring. They love to court in our woods and at the start of mating season first light is actually accompanied by noise loud enough to wake the dead. It only lasts an hour or so but it is memorable. The solution – earplugs :-). Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • @Michelle Saunderson – trust me! The sounds aren’t that different!!
    @Mrs Tuna – But it beats the hell outta your ‘Chore Wheel of Death’!! Thanx for dropping by …
    @Katie – they really ARE magnificent – if only I could tape their beaks shut … AND stop them from destroying our garden … and neutralise the endless whining of their young …
    @Kath Lockett – No, we get our nature loud, proud and in your face down under!
    @Gina – thanx, girlfriend!! Will pop over to see what secret business yr folks are up to soon!
    @Andrew – my previous permanent home was in the inner city too – took ages to swap my immunity to ambulance, pub closing time and plane noises for the ‘quietness’ of the country!!
    @Robin – They ARE horrific looking birds – once you know what they’re capable of!! But … to give credit where credit’s due, I get that they’re attractive too …!!

  • I am sorry that you are not sleeping, but that was very entertaining. I was picturing horrific looking birds from the initial description (Chainsaws of the Sky), so I had to laugh when I actually saw them. You know, of course, that they are quite attractive:-) Or they will be once you are out of the vicinity. In a few years maybe…

  • I always have trouble sleeping in the countryside because of random critter noises. I need to hear whooshes of turbo chargers occasionally the rattle of trams and a few emergency vehicle sirens to sleep soundly.

  • HI ya Gina here again, thanks for keeping up with me. No my parents do not know that I blog about them….If you will look at previous blogs there is post on most of my family. Love your blog today…keep up the great work.

  • Ah yes. My English friends still laugh at the time her parents came over and just about leapt out of bed in fright when a flock of cockies landed in the garden. No lovely little cheepings and trillings but a full-throated ‘BAGARK! BAGARRRRK BAGARRRRRK!’

  • I have only ever seen those birds in the pet store. I know they drive you nuts but I should like to see them just once NOT in a cage. And NOW I have. Thanks for the pics and sorry they are driving you nutty.

  • All the nature gives me the heepy jeepies.

  • Michelle Saunderson

    We have had screaming mating cats around my neighborhood lately. I hope we both can get some sleep soon.

  • @Dave & Shell – YESSSS! Someone understands my pain!!! Thanx for dropping in …
    @Jayne – now there’s a cunning plan – spend a whole year developing a crop JUST for the excuse to nail a few of the little b’s!! I like it!!
    @Glen – when you put it like that, is it just me, or does that make me sound a little – you know – psycho??!!

  • loading up rats to act as cat bait? you are mad and dangerous – nice work 🙂

  • LOL
    I always said the farmers shooting to scare off those birds were only using their crops as an excuse to get rid of the noisy buggers 😉

  • Thanks red nomad, that gave me s laugh! I know how you feel about the cockies – we had them in Darwin every arvo – cause some of the vannies used to feed them – we certainly learnt not too!
    Chin up,

    Shell

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