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“You’re never going to believe this, but…”

17 August 2011 5 Comments

Currawong Cradle MountainWombats, Wallabies, and Tassie Devils are the obvious stars of our Cradle Mountain community and form the basis of more than one valuable business in our area. They are a drawcard for tourists, particularly families with inquisitive youngsters, and provide one of the quintessential Cradle Mountain photo opportunities.

As a born and bred Tasmanian, it gives me great joy and a little bit of oft-needed perspective to witness the excitement on visitors faces when they first see one of our usually-nocturnal neighbours.

I can’t blame people for their interest, the marsupial face is the definition of cute; it is impossible not to want to pick them up and squeeze them! We have only recently started to appreciate how valuable these creatures are to the tourism industry and our eco-system alike, not just in our immediate area but in our beautiful state as a whole (Thylacine, anyone?).

As deservedly famous as the fascinating Devil, Wombat and Wallaby are, I’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to another, less decorated, member of our Cradle Mountain family: the determined Currawong.

A stark black bird, Raven-like, with piercing yellow eyes, Currawongs come across as friendly and curious to the inexperienced Cradle Mountaineer.  Be careful though, their taping on screen doors and dances around balconies come with a well-practiced hidden agenda!

At least once a month, without fail, a poor unsuspecting guest will come to the hotel desk, wide-eyed and gape-mouthed, and launch into their tale: “You’re never going to believe this, but…”, followed by a brief explanation of their movements, and unvaryingly ending with the exclamation “… and a crow flew in and stole the chips from the minibar!”

I’ll admit it, I was impressed the first time I heard this story.

The vision of a bird with straining pinions clutching its prize as it struggles to fly to safety did seem a little far-fetched!

But I hear this so often nowadays that it is very difficult to keep the wry smile and shake of the head to myself. This is all too familiar territory for us locals!

I remember one particularly nasty incident where a guest had accidentally shut one of these brash birds in a room for the entire day, and let’s just say…it took a lot longer than a regular Housekeeping shift to clean THAT mess up! Purple curtains and stained bedspreads, to give you a little idea…

Now, I don’t wish to place blame for occurrences such as this, but I implore anyone visiting Cradle Mountain: please do not feed our animals!

I know it’s hard to resist the endearing way they look at you, big searching brown eyes, sniffing the air for whatever tasty morsel you hold in your outstretched hand, but for their sake, and yours, do not hand it over! It is human food, and as lovely as it is for us, it does not bode well for our friends that live on grass and roots.

None of us want to promotes the damaging culture of wild animals that are so used to being treated like domesticated ones that they forget their natural way of life. They then become pests and vermin and lose their charm, and my greatest fear is that perhaps one day Wallabies will become as underappreciated as the Currawong.

Enjoy Cradle Mountain and enjoy our wonderful native animals but please only photograph them, they will really appreciate it in the long term.

Koby Blizzard is a born and bred Tasmanian who works and lives in the Cradle Mountain area. She loves all things Cradle and Tasmania and is just embarking on a writing career.   This is her first piece of many we have planned for Cradle Mountain.net.

Image: Hangdog via Flickr

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5 Comments »

  • Kate shliap said:

    Kobi IS an amazingly talented, creative and beautiful writer. That is all. :-)

  • Jade Craven said:

    I agree – I’d like to read more from Kobi, and agree about feeding wild animals :-) Totally appreciate the article on a less popular bird.

  • Frank said:

    @Kate – agree, really happy to have her on board. Will be interested in waht she comes up with next from around Cradle.

    @Jade – agree, we hope Koby (or is it Kobi?) enjoys the chance to write, especially about stuff she loves! Personally love the Currawong unless one has just flown away with my lunch ;-)

  • Georgie said:

    Great story, Koby, I can just imagine the currawong flying off with the chip packet.

    On my last hike, the currawongs pecked into a backpack left with the zipper side up on the Mt Ossa platform, and one flew off with a mobile phone. The owner discovered his phone was missing at the hut that night, so trudged back the next morning, and found it close to the Mt Pelion East track – all scratched and dented from being pecked and dropped, but still working!

    I look forward to more stories.

    Regards
    Georgie

  • Koby (author) said:

    @Kate – Thanks for your totally unbiased opinion ;)

    @Jade – Glad to see I’m not the only one who has a soft spot for Currawongs! Thank you very much :)

    @Georgie – A mobile phone?! That’s a great effort! I bet the owner won’t make that mistake twice.
    Thanks Georgie, hope you enjoy my next articles too :)

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