There were a few reasons why I thought it was a young 'un. Firstly, it waited until the last minute before it flew off. That's something that birds do if they are ground-dwellers and rely on camouflage to keep safe. Even then, they only move if they think they've definitely been spotted or are about to be trodden on. But this bird was at my head height and I hadn't seen it at all! In fact, I was moving away from it when it decided to bolt. So I had a feeling this guy was a bit of an amateur when it came to hiding.
Secondly, I just had enough time to make out a fluffy head that didn't look like any of the birds I'd expect to see in our area. Another clue pointing to a young bird - they often look outlandish and much fluffier than adults.
Thirdly, the bird didn't fly far. Just far enough to get out of view. And it was on a downward trajectory. I got the feeling it wasn't all that comfortable with flying. It could have been an injured bird, but it didn't seem like it was in pain - just that it was a bit flummoxed.
I gently made my way toward where I'd heard it land and this is what I saw. (Isn't its camouflage good? It's in the middle of the photo..)
So, projecting as benign a presence as I could, I slowly approached the young kooka. I stayed low, and avoided direct eye contact - in fact I took time to look around me, as though I too were looking out for predators. I relaxed myself and made soothing noises.
And it let me get this close:
We hung out for ages - I've no idea how long exactly; I was too busy whispering sweet nothings and thanking my lucky stars - but after a while the parents came back with food and started calling out, 'Where are ya? Who's that you're talking to?' and so I said my goodbyes and got up to leave...
Which was when I heard a noise from nearby - a bleating squawk - and looked round to see that my mate's brother or sister had been hanging out not four metres away the whole time, without moving or making a sound!
(my mate is at left, bro/sis is on a branch in the middle of the pic)
Thanks for reading!