Do cockatoos seek revenge? Bulbs, blossoms and birds..

Cockatoos are frequent visitors to our garden, especially when the almond tree flowers and the almonds grow and drop onto the ground.

They spend a lot of time collecting the almonds from the ground, cracking open shells, and eating almonds on the carport roof, while socialising…

They are pretty good at putting on a show for the camera too..


The almond tree has beautiful flowers and is much loved by many birds.

The Wattle birds enjoying the almond flower nectar..

However, there is seldom harmony amongst birds and gardeners in spring.

Recently a couple of the cockatoos hopped onto the almond tree and started shredding the leaves and the flowers. Earlier this year, they had successfully shredded our flowering Eucalyptus tree of many of its smaller branches, so we hoped this wasn’t going to start a new trend…

Paul waved the broom at them and politely said ”shoo!”

Well! We’ve never heard that tone before!

For our resident cockatoos, even implied criticism is hard to take…they collected their almonds and flew off to the neighbouring telephone wires….

and turned their backs on us!


….. and if you think you are going to get a photo opportunity from us…you can go sing for your supper…

They disappeared for a few days, but, sadly, the plot thickens.

Last year, I took most of these perfectly good tulips out of the front garden and put them in pots on the deck in the back garden.


Cockatoos frequently fly over the deck to get to the almond tree, and very occasionally they behead a daffodil or two along the way, usually the ones that have the temerity to flower early.

However, sometime after our falling out with the cockatoos, we came home one evening to find some of the early flowering tulips, and some crocus had been pulled out of their pots, and half eaten…. what a mess, what destruction!


The culprits had very large beaks…


Cockatoos are known to be curious and intelligent birds…so, were they sampling new bulbs for taste or bearing a grudge?

As my neighbour said, perhaps….”Revenge is a dish best served cold”

The cockatoos did not come visiting for a while, but we enjoyed seeing some of the other springtime youngsters…

Young kookaburras ”Oh did you hear what they did? We would never do that!”
Baby Eastern Rosellas…


I was wondering if I could come down and have a drink?


Baby galah…or Elvis impersonator..

Recently we went to Sydney for a wedding, and this time I hid my (remaining) flowering bulbs behind the camellia on the deck…better safe than sorry…


All quiet on the home front when we got home…


At least we have a few surviving tulips for the deck, so all is not lost.

There is not much chance to enjoy anything in the garden at the moment, because the rain has been tumbling down all week.

Except of course if you are a cockatoo. Word is out that the almond shells are lovely and soft, and have been lying around on the ground for some time now.


Well, okay you’re forgiven. We’ll just sit here in the rain and enjoy the bounty ….


I guess every gardener has some challenges, and at least ours are mighty big personalities!

Since I started blogging and reading gardening blogs, I’ve learnt all about a the hazards of nearby  rabbits, possums, deer, squirrels and other invaders in the garden…do you have yours?

Copyright Geraldine  Mackey. All rights reserved


20 Replies to “Do cockatoos seek revenge? Bulbs, blossoms and birds..”

  1. What a fun read…although I am sorry for your losses 🙂 They are wonderful characters aren’t they? We used to feed multiple Rosella when we lived at Dunlop. Moving to Yass we continued to do the same, delightedly telling ourselves that our birds had followed us…well that was until the local mob of Cockies found out about the Buffett. We just had to stop putting food out in the end cause they just swamped the yard destroying everything they could reach and then started on the bonsai…that was the decider. They still visit and entertain us but not In the numbers when food was in constant supply

    1. Thanks Peter, yes we’ve learnt our lesson putting out food for the birds … The cockatoos dominated the lot! But the bonsai …they will stop at nothing!

  2. I’ll take your gorgeous feathered friends any day. But, I won’t inflict you with the furry rodents we have to deal with. We have many oak trees and a chestnut tree which call every squirrel and chipmunk for miles around. They ate all my tulip bulbs and stripped our strawberry plants so I don’t even attempt them anymore. They can go find their own supper. When spring comes here, I have to repair all the damage to the perennial beds where they dug it up to store their nuts, and I’m left with mounds of soil and torn landscape fabric all over the place. Your tulips in the pots look lovely. 🙂

    1. Oh my goodness, the squirrels and chipmunks sound dreadful…worse than possums which we have in some parts of Canberra. Is there much difference between the two?…chipmunk has a better dentist? Anyway, as the Irish would say, Judy, you must be a very hardy gardener to keep going!

  3. If they are anything like squirrels then yes, they seek revenge! But I do love all your birds. They’re such characters. A bit like me and my pheasants, you can’t fall out with them for long.

    1. Squirrels seem to be the bete noir of all overseas gardeners, and I bet those pheasants can do some damage. Yes, the birds are very colourful here, in more ways than one.

  4. What a post! I just loved it! Such a fantastic story, I laughed, feared for you and yet more repercussions, laughed again, and was happy it all ended so well……if it does down the line….lol! How I wish they were here!
    Oh, oh….kookaburra chicks, now you are just rattling my cage! I’m positively green eyed! What an honour to see such birds! Funnily enough, we had a Rosella bird in the rescue a few months ago, it was in a terrible state, it had plucked most of it’s feathers ,obviously it was an escapee, or had been let go, why on earth would someone keep such a bird in captivity? We sent it to a guy who could care for it, it will still be a captive bird though, such a shame….xxx

    1. Glad you liked the story, the Cockatoos really handed that one to me! The Kookaburra chicks are very cute, and always seem sociable. The poor Rosella, I just hate to think about the illegal trade in birds, they looks so beautiful in the wild.

  5. Hi Geraldine. We are in Western Australia and apparently run a popular bird restaurant but only fir selected diners. One escaped corella we call Helli started coming five years ago. He now has a mate call we call Hello Two and she’s been coming for two years but no young ones yet. I sit next to them until they’ve finished eating because the other corella chase them off then I take the seed away.
    This morning a sulphur crested cockatoo came for v brekky. He has been watching from afar for about two weeks. He was very hungry and Hello had to wait patiently until he’d eaten, had a long drink from the bird bath and a shower under our sprinkler – it was our watering day. I think we now have another regular.
    Next came the two magpie families and a wary mudlark and two butcher birds for a fat free mince meat brekky and a shower, then sang their thanks. I love early mornings with the birds. Just waiting for Bill the Ibus now. He eats the leftovers from Puss’s breakfast then gobbles down ant snails, slaters, black beetles and army worms he can find plus any minuscule pieces of meat left on the lawn after the Maggie and co’s brekky so he’s the restaurant dishwasher. Loved your blog. I found it whilst looking for notes on sulphur crested cockies. Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy, what great stories you have about your birds, and your bird restaurant. You could do with your own blog about birds…entertainment every day! It was only when I started writing a blog that I realised how fascinating our birds are to people from other countries. They are big, loud and noisy, with so much personality! We also love our magpies, they are regulars in the garden. And who needs to travel when we have such entertainment at home? I’m so glad you have found my blog, and are enjoying the cockatoo stories, because I sometime wonder if I am overdoing the stories on birds in the garden, especially the cockatoos. Keep enjoying your birds, and I hope you can follow future stories of mine on birds..

  6. Dear Geraldine,
    Today Tuesday 22/8/23 I watered my front garden and was later admiring the garden through loungeroom window, well I was so shocked to see an empty large pot which had contained a lovely bush with new white flowers, I had repotted this so it would grow and bloom. Well these cockatoos who are regulars had pulled all of the bush out in pieces and dumped on the grass, as well as their usual beheading of my fresias and a branch of a flowering succulent. We have gum trees right opposite our garden, and I am over it. I need some help please.

    1. I sympathise with you completely! Paul has just planted some new shrubs today and he has put in some wooden stakes around them and some fine green pieces of tough string…. We are hoping that will deter the villains! The plants look as if they are in prison!
      Good luck!

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