The Ruckus Birds

Jacqueline Jones - Birds in the Jungle

The ruckus-birds were back this morning at 4am, screeching and shrilling and jabbering and splitting the darkness apart. They’re like something out of Lewis Carroll’s strange garden: the car alarm bird, with its insistent sonic cheep; the typewriter bird, with its abrupt clatter of song, and gangs of their darting, shrieking cohorts. I’ve never seen these birds – they exist in that unreal pre-dawn state caught between dream and reality – but I imagine them as jungle birds hidden in the undergrowth, garish swabs of fuchsia and emerald set against a chalkboard night.  Yellow crests zip and unzip the shadows; great wings flap and slice the heavy air; beaks like dragons’ claws rend silence apart. The mad cacophony of cries carries through our bedroom window to where we lie swaddled in sleep and twisted sheets. We awake, astonished,  for a moment thinking ourselves lost in the wilds of New Guinea –somewhere steamy and green and primal, far away from the narrow streets of Rozelle where already the din of garbage trucks can be heard in the distance. And then we place it: ah yes, it is the ruckus birds again…


About bakersdaughterwrites

What to say? I’m a 30-something year old woman from Sydney notorious for changing her mind. I have a cat named Seraphina Nightingale, whic
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5 Responses to The Ruckus Birds

  1. litlove says:

    That’s wonderful – you can see why Hitchcock did The Birds. They have such a dual nature, this sense of lurking malevolence, the possibility of violence. It just wouldn’t have been the same movie if he’d called it The Impalas or The Tortoises instead.

  2. Particularly The Tortoises – now that would have been a really slow film.

  3. I really thought I was the only person who had ever heard a Typewriter Bird. I had one nesting outside the bedroom of my former domicile, and I hated it with a passion. I have to wonder whether it will ever align with current technology, and make a noise similar to the Windows program start chime.

    • Stupid birds – they’re so behind the times, aren’t they? I have to say, I hope my little typewriter bird never updates to modern technology – I hate computers and would much prefer a windchime to a Windows chime any day.

  4. Hi I found this by accident I am the artist who did the painting. I like the writing it goes with the painting and it was a pleasure to read. I enclose my website.

    Best Wishes,



    I am actually a bakers daughter!

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