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Photo:

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo & Banksia – Hand coloured linocut – by Rachel Newling

General Information & Description:

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo @ Wiki
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus funereus @Parks & Wildlife Services Tasmania

Other names: Two subspecies: C. f. funereus; and, C. f. xanthanotus which is the only species in Tasmania.

Where: Southern, Eastern States, coastal (to Adelaide) and Tasmania

Planetary Correspondence: Saturnian Saturn

For Work With:

  • Defence (warnings) against Martial attacks, magic
  • Finding hidden opportunities
  • Honouring the Dead
  • As omen, speaks to messages regarding family
  • Also, at low altitudes it is said their appearance means bad weather is coming
  • Problem solving when things seem bleak, finding the “light in the dark”
  • Determination and “keeping at it”

Further Information:

I’ve found these birds both fascinating and infuriating. They are at once just like their white, sulphur crested fellows, and the exact opposite. They don’t flock in large numbers, they are large but behave more like smaller parrots, like the Gang-gang (Callocephalon fimbriatum), they are less inclined to populated areas, hard to find in the bush, but never hard to hear. They enjoy eating grubs, are extremely destructive when it comes to their favourite seeds, but being disinclined towards houses, they haven’t the same reputation as the White Cockies.

I’ve never had the pleasure of being around so many in the wild as I have here in my current house. In NSW were I lived they were not at all common, and I don’t recall seeing one in the wild. But in Tassie they are much more common, and here, even in suburbia, backing onto Wellington Park, seems to be the exact right spot. We’re right on the edge between pristine push and houses, and so more than enough introduced Radiata pine to keep them occupied for hours at a time. Along with the usual She-oak, Eucalyptus and Banksia to keep them well stocked. Along with the Palm, and the Sulphure-crested, these guys are the largest of cockatoo species. And they can do some serious damage to trees when they are hungry.

They have the most eerie high-pitched wailing call.

This, and their dark brown and black plumage is clearly why they are associated with the dead, and mourning, and thier being called “funereus”. But I have found generally their nature to be quite in line with the hidden and darker aspects of the bush. I have found the suggestion they tell of bad weather to be rather true around Hobart.

I have had several strange occurrences since I began focusing on observing them and finding them in the bush behind my house. When a family group suddenly descended upon my house (which was completely odd) my mother called to tell me she was visiting in enough time for me to say “hang on Mum, you should see these crazy cockies!” Indeed, if I hear them during the day I almost always get a call. In several journeying meditations, I have thought I heard their call, only to come across quite suddenly what I was looking for, either aid/solution, or to discover what was the core of my problem or question. And several times now, I have heard them when wandering in the bush, and gone to see where they are, and then discovering them and watching them in the trees for some time, I have found something unique and useful, being either botanical or bones, or some other oddity that might be something I am working with or thinking on, right by my feet when finally they fly off and I cease looking up.

This week, as I was thinking about writing this post, I had gone walking to source some bush wood, when I came across this breeding pair and their young.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos feeding on Radiata Pine north of Hobart

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos feeding on Radiata Pine north of Hobart

It’s not the best photo, but this is the closest I’ve been able to get to these birds in the wild, they seem to me much more nervous and sceptical of interlopers than their white cousins. But I was indeed close enough to have to dodge a dropped cone as I walked underneath them. Shortly after I came across the most bizarre and unusual thing I have ever seen in the bush back there! A cache of fallow deer bones (2 from what I could ascertain). How they got their I can only assume, and I think probably dumped to be honest. But I was able to make a small offering to their spirits and collect some of their bones for crafting.  It’s these sorts of things I am coming to expect from the Black Cockies, they seem always to point me to something I can use, a solution, an answer to a question. And of course, when I shared online, it seemed some of my friends were very interested in the deer because they were significant in their craft. Answers to questions I didn’t even have.

I would say finding them, hearing them, whilst in the bush a good omen, and you should take some time to let them work on you, take a seat and listen. Finding a feather likewise, a tool to meditate with when next you are seeking answers.

P.S. ‘Y’ is for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo! This post participates with the Pagan Blog Project!

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