The location of Broome means that our sunrise and sunset times do not vary a great deal during the year. The variation is only about 90 minutes and we don’t have “daylight saving”, so the clocks never get changed. Various governments have forced us to trial it in Western Australia in 1975, 1984, 1992 and 2006 and we have then had to vote on it and it has been rejected. I think they have given up now and they are unlikely to trial it again for some years. This means that the birds are currently awake and calling at 5am because it is summer! During the winter they hold off until about 6:30am, so we get to sleep in! Of course we could just shut the whole house up and possibly block out the bird calls, but realistically there are birds in our region that can call loud enough to be heard even if you shut your windows and doors. I mentioned last week the cheerful sound of the Grey-crowned Babblers awakening us with their chuckling, but often it is the Blue-winged Kookaburras that start up even earlier. Due to the cyclones that affect our region we mainly have underground power, so there are limited transformers above ground for them to perch on and call from. One of these transformers is at the end of the next street and is a perfect perch for them to call from in the early hours. Their other option is our “pretend power line”, which they also use throughout the day.

We have had some hot and dry days this week and the Blue-winged Kookaburras have been using our garden for shade as well as making a general racket first thing. Most people are familiar with the laughing sound of the Laughing Kookaburra and the Blue-winged Kookaburra also calls, but sounds like it is not just laughing, but slightly mad and insane! In fact one of our Australian Field Guides has under “Other name”…. “Barking Jackass”….nothing else needs to be said!! Once they get going it is quite a raucous.

Blue-winged Kookaburra (2)

Blue-winged Kookaburra (3)

 A hot Blue-winged Kookaburra

The Blue-winged Kookaburras have an impressive bill and mainly eat insects, lizards and frogs. They inhabit the north of Australia and look like an over-sized kingfisher.

Blue-winged Kookaburra (4)

Blue-winged Kookaburra (5)

Blue-winged Kookaburra (6)

Blue-winged Kookaburra (7)

Blue-winged Kookaburra (8)

Blue-winged Kookaburra on our fence

I know it is too cold at the moment in a lot of areas for you to have your windows and doors open, but what birds awaken you throughout the year?


Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!