The Doust Files – Albany Advertiser 25/10/11

This can be a very anxious time of the year for both parties – the parents of the young and those who fear the fear of the parents.
The parents, of course, as the experts constantly remind us, are only protecting their young from perceived threats and there is nothing to do but walk with an umbrella, wave a stick, or perhaps wear an empty ice cream container on your head.
I don’t do any of these things and yet I have never been swooped by the bird Noongars call coolbardiin my entire life. Why not? What is it about me? Does my head look like an upside down ice cream container? 
What’s more, I am not alone and whenever we meet we share stories and marvel at the inability of others to recognise the intelligence of the creature or see the simplicity of the solution – don’t be a threat, be a friend.
But don’t try now, not if you live in the territory of a mob that have a habit of swooping at anything that moves , wears red, reminds you of someone they once knew, or walks beside a dog that chases anything that moves, flies, or barracks for Collingwood.
Now is the spring of their discontent and the smartest thing you can do is stay away from the nesting places.
When we arrived to occupy our Albany home the local mob were in a terrible rage and we kept well clear of them even though it resulted in some inconvenience. They were in a rage because some in the area were intimidating them with sticks, stones and threatening body language.
We waited until peace reigned once again over the earth and then we began our conversation, whistling as they flew by, installing a bird bath, making sure they saw us spread the sunflower seeds on the lawn and looking at them direct, without fear, as though they were the friendly landlord come to collect rent.
Right now I can hear their early morning calls, their carols to the new day and their cries warning others in the mob that something is not quite right in their territory. I love those sounds and I love their night song, that one that no-one quite knows the meaning off but my magpie loving son and I are pretty sure one of our possibilities is more than likely.
Local Menang elder Carol Peterson will tell you the coolbardi  is the messenger bird and if you’d only take the time to listen, it could change your life.

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