This brightly-plumed little fellow swooped down from the trees with an expectant look, so Aud got him a snack. "Aud loves Australian wildlife, and Australian wildlife loves Aud!" Chris declared.
Aud extended the same hospitality to this kookaburra. However, after the little guy shoved aside the bread she was offering in order to stab her repeatedly in the palm with his beak, she kept her distance. "That was really brave of you Audrey, I would NEVER try feeding a kookaburra!" said Chris, as we watched the bird pick up the bread slice and bash it to smithereens against the balcony railing, and Audrey rubbed her hand. "Look how strong his beak is, and his lizard-claws! You know they kill snakes! He's seen your fingers and thought they were tender little worms!"
"Yeah," I said. "They're carnivorous! They're an extreme bird!"
"I did not know this." said Aud. "He looks so sweet! Why did noone tell me this?!"
"Oh! We just thought you were being adventurous!"
"No! I was unaware of the danger!"
We felt a bit bad! Aud is French, been in the country ten years but we still ought to be looking out for her in the bush! Most everyone knows that the cute koala will happily tear strips in your skin, that a kangaroo kick will put you in hospital, and that emus are just bad news all round. But does anyone think to warn visitors and immigrants of the violence seething beneath the friendly-looking, fluffy kookaburras? No, and they are all the more endangered by this omission. Gawd! writing this, I am getting a flashback to a farm trip where Aud spotted an echidna by the side of the road and we got out of the car so she could photograph it, and she reached out to pat the thing, but it ambled away. After a trip to the Healesville Sanctuary some months ago she she could talk of nothing but the Tasmanian Devil, and she went round stamping all surfaces with a little Tasmanian Devil rubber-stamp. It's lucky we're unlikely to encounter one outside captivity because I could see her attempting to tickle it under the chin and us all just watching to see what happens.
Do not underestimate Australian wildlife under any circumstances.