03 May 2020

70. Vibrancy

King Parrots fly to the house for only part of the year.

The birds arrive in October when native hop bushes start to bloom.

Last year there was very little blossom for the birds to eat. 

Not as pretty as usual, between Cockatoos and King Parrots, the birds strip the yellow and pink blossoms from the hops, leaving a wonderful carpet of colour on the ground.

Last spring and summer was a wretched time of intense heat and unrelenting drought.

Of irritating dust storms and smoke haze from massive fires burning in the mountain range bordering our property.

The sky was either grey or a sick yellow/brown colour.

Sunrises and sunsets were spectacular, but everything looked as if it was the end of the world.

As the worst fires in modern history took hold in Australia, these birds stayed.

The female has a mottled green head and breast, while the male really has  bright orange red plumage right down the underside of his body.

I had repeated asthma attacks in mid-December; it was hard to breathe. 

On doctor’s orders I wasn’t allowed outside for days. 

I’d stand at the window, watching shifting smoke on the mountain opposite. 

I’d forgotten about the birds. 


Instead fretting about the fire doubling in size every second day.

Air quality around home was worse than in Delhi or Beijing. Barely able to see a hundred metres through the smoke haze, the King Parrots came to drink at the bird bath on some of the worst days in my life.

Photos don’t turn out well when air is that polluted, especially when they are taken through the glass coated by dust storms.

Even so, I tried not to be obsessed by flames in the distance and kept watching out for King Parrots.

Had to keep snapping away with the camera, taking the photos I loved to take before the Australian Bushfire Crisis started.

Every day birds collided with our house windows because visibility was low. 

It was devastating each time I saw it. 


The windows shook when bigger birds like doves crashed into them, leaving a dusty white imprint on the glass. 

I felt shaky as well.

In amongst a climate emergency that filled me with worry I saw some of the  brightest birds on the planet. 

The milky green stripe along the wing of the male kings, is really something.

Though the milder, greener females can be beautiful to see as well.

This female hopped on a dead palm frond.

She was so heavy it sank down low, though she easily kept her balance.

When you see one King Parrot, you look around and can always see another. Sometimes there are four or five in a family group.

When a King flies by it seems like someone threw a tomato through the air. Those vivid feathers were a surprise in the grey of fire smoke in the new year. 

 A welcome distraction, the parrots lifted my mood when it was down low.

We could barely see through the smoke on Christmas Eve, 2019.

 They saved me when I needed saving.

When I couldn’t see past my fear of fire, 
King Parrots gave me the gift of vibrancy.

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