When Kookaburra’s Are Not Laughing


I have to say I am sad tonight, as I was driving at night through a thick forest I suddenly saw a kookaburra on the road, at first I didn’t know what it was as it was dark then as I got close I saw this magestic bird.  It was so strange as it just sat there.  I tried to go over the top of it so as not to squash it but I heard it hit my car.  I was devastated.  I have to be honest I was too scared to go back and check as I couldn’t bare to see it suffering or have an image of it harmed.

I had a big cry tonight and still feel deeply regretful for driving at night.  I won’t do that again.  I felt this bird to be a sacred animal and feel so bad for not going around it.  I do know my intent was not to harm it but nonetheless I am so upset.  The Kookaburras mate for life and some mate would be so upset at the loss of its mate. 

So tonight I thought I’d go into this and next time do not drive at night and take responsibility and go back and check it.  To have the courage to kill it if it is injured.  For me this is so hard as I can’t even kill an ant, I just find it so hard to willingly hurt something, even to end its life.  I have done it before and it was so hard.  In my way I sent love to the Kookaburra’s spirit as I am sure they are  amazing.  Then I thought of all the kangaroos that the truck drivers just kill without thinking.  I can’t imagine a mentality that justifies killing innocent life.  Our technology makes us so rough on nature.  I honestly don’t know how the natural world copes with us. 


I hear your laughter in the morning,

and I laugh as an echo in return,

for you bring joy into my heart,

as you awaken the world to your magical presence,

reminding everyone that life is humorous,

that to laugh loudly is to live deeply,

for I am the clown and you are my symbol of joy.


Yet tonight my heart is so heavy,

I cannot laugh as I cry,

I cannot fly when I am sleeping,

In my own ignorance a life was taken,

In a moment of ignorance,

My ipod was speaking in my ear,

Somehow I was numbed to the scene,

Had I seen this magnificent bird earlier,

Had I responded just-in-time,

I would not be devastated for my crime.


It was a crime against nature,

how can a bird be less than a person,

for the weight of my realisation is profound,

I hear the sound of the spirit fluttering,

And I am stuttering as I cannot get out the words,

As this beautiful bird is the teacher from which I must learn.


The indigenous speak of it as a omen,

That it is about family,

But how can I laugh with family?

When they are not laughing?

How can I heal the past when they are not present?

If I am not present how can I be here now?

For I cannot be in two places at once.


So in my heart I take a feather from my omen,

I make it a totem in my life,

To keep laughing,

For I am the clown,

I must keep on laughing as a tribute to this silent one,

To remember we are here to have fun,

And this will heal the world family,

This will bring all back home,

Into the warmth of love and kindness,

So no-one feels alone.


Here is the blog tonight that tore at my heart.  May we all so care for the wildlife, we must slow down.  I totally agree with the comments below.  May that Kookaburra rest in peace.

This is an update… I went back to the place I thought I had killed the Kookaburra, but it turns out it was not there.  I have a feeling it actually flew off.  So I feel better but the lesson is learned, perhaps that was the reason for the Kookaburra on my path.  I take it as a message of family.


Mandala Musings

Kookaburra Prayer

Posted by Darryl Butler on Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I find that the inspiration for making a mandala comes in many ways. Sometimes it might be in response to a certain mood or atmosphere in a particular location. Sometimes it can be the colours and textures of a natural element. Other times I am motivated by a message.

I think of this mandala as the ‘Kookaburra Prayer’, and it acts as a type of prayer or affirmation for me.

This is the story behind the makings of the mandala, and is our tribute to International Animal Dreaming Day—an initiative of Scott Alexander King—celebrated today, 30th August.

Recently, while Stephanie and I were traveling, we came across a Kookaburra that had been killed on the road. When it is safe to do so, we remove any animals who have recently been killed on the road—we simply love animals and can’t bear to drive past knowing what will further become of them if left there amidst the traffic. This is a kind of ceremonial process for us, as we find a place nearby that is a much more respectful ‘resting place’.

As I placed the Kookaburra on some dried grasses far away from the road I was struck by the beauty of its feathers. I felt that by making a mandala I could turn something about its tragic death into something inspirational. Stephanie has created many mandalas celebrating the life of beautiful birds in this very same situation.

After photographing the patterns I buried the Kookaburra and sent a blessing and thanks to its spirit, and as I turned to leave I saw one of its lighter, fluffier feathers and I felt like releasing it in the wind. I raised it into the air and it drifted slowly for about 30 metres before landing down in the nearby paddock. That helped me feel much better about this event, as we are both very moved by these unnecessary deaths. It sounds strange to say it that way, that it’s unnecessary, but I hope you sense what I mean.

Then I walked along the road and found 8 of its distinctive and striking tail feathers. I felt it was OK to take these with respect and use them for purposes of creating further artworks or elements of inspiration.

So I spent a long time creating a mandala that feels right to me in celebration of the life of this Kookaburra, and the simple messages that came to me in this situation. The thoughts I had related to the way that many animals are simply disregarded in modern life—that a ‘roadkill’ situation is treated with detachment and ignorance, and the animals are often left in a hit-and-run scenario.

I am hoping that this story and mandala encourage people to have a second thought that we are driving through animal habitats; we’ve altered their natural habitat and could be more respectful, at least to show more of a consideration on the roads with regards to their safety. Maybe we could all slow down our driving at times, have our awareness more open, and if we do accidentally kill or injure an animal to stop and be more responsible for what has happened.

Kookaburras are an amazing Australian icon, often called the Laughing Kookaburra, and their name comes from the Wiradjuri Aboriginal word guuguubarra.

Their laughing call or song is a common sound in the Australian bush, most often heard at dawn and dusk, sometimes as a chorus of many Kookaburras. It’s a very happy sound, one that fills me with optimism, and the appreciation and joy of just being alive.

* Scott Alexander King of Animal Dreaming initiated International International Animal Dreaming Day. See also the Facebook Page for International Animal Dreaming Day FaceBook Group.

Ruth commented on 31-Aug-2011 10:28 AM
Hi guys, you well and truly hit the spot with the Kookaburra. I too, dealt with a dead one, found on the side of the road in Dec last year. I had never felt so struck by one like this before, though I have always loved animals, and am saddened when one dies. My Kookaburra was lying peacefully on the footpath, so I decided to pull over, pick it up and because I was close to home, I drove back, dug a hole in the back yard, all the while bawling my eyes out, so the kookaburra was allowing me to do some healing in the process. I got some little feathers, but no large ones, and I knew that I had to respect that, but know that his family do look over me all the time. Later that day, I even buried a tawny frogmouth that I saw on the way back to work. So how awesome was that! Thanks you so much for your blog, as you can see, we are helping Scott follow his dreams for the animals on this land. xx
Darryl and Stephanie commented on 31-Aug-2011 08:39 PM
Thanks for sharing your comment Ruth, we’re glad the Kookaburra Prayer resonated with you and your own similar experiences. Would you believe that Stephanie buried another two birds just today, a Magpie and a Moorhen, both the result of roadkills. Today the Kookaburras at our home have been laughing and singing a lot more than usual, which feels extra special. Animal Dreaming Day has been a great way for like-minded people to share their love for our animal friends :)
Mohandas Gandhi

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”