who’s a silly goose? the cuckoo’s nest conundrum

Of course, when you think about it, the cuckoo’s laughing. For starters, one can’t fly over a cuckoo’s nest if they don’t exist. And just how many years has it taken this (Australian) Iconophile to work that one out? According to the all-knowing Wiki, the famous quintuple Academy Award winning film’s title is derived from an (American) children’s rhyme:

“Vintery, mintery, cutlery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn,
Wire, briar, limber lock
Three geese in a flock
One flew East
One flew West
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”

This Common Koel (a member of the cuckoo family) doesn’t understand our problem. Let me explain. We have learnt three crucial things about the Koel in the last few months. One is its very annoying wake-up call. The Koel migrates to Canberra in the spring time. One day it starts calling at 4.00 am and then it continues without pause for three months or so. Second, when you are finally of a mind to silence it, it becomes invisible, it resorts to its powers of ventriloquy, and continues to drill its penetrating call right through your semiconscious brainbox, from who-knows-where. Evil to the core, we suspect it uses this capacity to focus a wall of sound to drive other birds from their nests. Then (third point), in its own sneaky cuckoo way, having outsourced its rearing responsibilities to our local wattlebirds (fat baby Koel is peeping continuously in the trees in our front garden as I write this story) the mother hangs around to make sure the foster parents do the right thing! So yesterday we saw the mother in the same bush watching the wattlebirds feed her very chubby progeny. Holidays are over. Handover day is nigh. Time to collect junior.

Sociological Metaphor Tags: Anthropomorphism. Unethical Behaviour. Bad parenting. Cross-species exploitation. Excess sugar in the diet. Childhood training.


#1 vanessa on 02.19.10 at 11:15 am

After reading the stories of Bill Harney jnr and snr about NT early last century, the wattlebirds fattening the cuckoo in their nest reminds me of the cattle station owners/managers settling themselves and their animals on country and the Indigenous labour ensuring their survival and success.

#2 Nigel on 02.21.10 at 9:28 am

I’ve always loved the Koel. I loved it growing up in the north of Sydney, and I love it now I live in Canberra. It’s such a lonely call, but also very determined – he’s going to mate no matter what!

#3 Nigel on 02.21.10 at 10:35 am

Ah! (dear reader) you will be confused until you realise there is more than one blogger called Nigel in Canberra – with different views on the (evil) Koel…

#4 Nigel F on 02.22.10 at 9:40 am

The Nigels of the world unite to confuse!

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