Rare Australian kookaburra spotted in Emsworth garden

A RARE bird has been spotted '˜basking in the sun' in an Emsworth garden.

Monday, 25th June 2018, 4:21 pm
Updated Monday, 25th June 2018, 4:29 pm
The kookaburra in Emsworth Picture: Jack Kuss

An expert has identified am ‘amazing’ bird in East Hampshire as a blue-winged kookaburra.

The bird was spotted by retired Emsworth husband and wife Jack and Wendy Kuss, who say it has been visiting their Thorney Road back garden daily since Thursday morning.

Typically found living in the dryness of northern Australia, it is thought to have escaped captivity in Hampshire.

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And while its owner is yet to come forward, Mr Kuss, 76, said the bird has certainly piqued his interest since it arrived.

‘It really is amazing. We have never had a kookaburra in our garden so we’re quite fascinated by it,’ he said.

‘The bird first arrived on Thursday and it has come back every day since to sit on our neighbour’s fence.

‘At first I thought my neighbour had put up a bird scarer, but then it turned its head to look at me.’

In its homeland, the Kookaburra – a carnivore – feeds on mice, small reptiles and snakes.

This one, however, is making do with what it can find.

Mr Kuss said: ‘I keep seeing it eat lots and lots of slow worms – I’m starting to wonder how many there are left around here.

‘When it’s not eating though it just sits on the fence, completely still. It’s as if it’s deliberately basking in the sun.’

The sighting has been dubbed ‘very unusual’ by Keith Betton, the chairman of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, who identified the bird.

Mr Betton said: ‘I have never heard of one of these birds being seen around here.

‘I’m proud to say I’ve seen one in Australia, but around the Emsworth area is very strange.

‘Kookaburras tend to grow to about 40-45cm in length, weigh about 350g and they can live up to 15 years.

‘It’s likely somebody out there will be missing it.’

Thought to belong to a breeder, Mr Kuss and Mr Betton are now searching for its rightful owner.

Mr Kuss said: ‘I would be very keen to find out how it got here.

‘It has to belong to someone because it certainly can’t have flown all the way.’

If you have any information on where the Kookaburra in Jack and Wendy’s garden came from, please email [email protected]