FOWL HEAVEN: Pilgrim Park at Brunswick Heads, which has long been home to feral fowls.
FOWL HEAVEN: Pilgrim Park at Brunswick Heads, which has long been home to feral fowls.

Roosters allowed to rule roost

TED McLOSKEY remembers his surprise when, 30 years ago, he first came across the wild roosters that roam Pilgrim Park at Brunswick Heads.

 “It was totally unexpected,” the Uki man said. “It was just so unusual to see wild domestic fowls in a public park.” It has now become the couple’s regular stop whenever they pass through town.

They are not the only ones. Over the years many buses have pulled over so the passengers can feed the roosters.

And despite what many may assume about midnight crowing angering neighbours, they are anything but annoyed – in fact, you could say they are a bit clucky.

When The Northern Star knocked on peoples’ doors to ask their opinion, the first question we were asked was: ‘No one is trying to get rid of them are they?’

No one can say with any certainty how long roosters have called Pilgrim Park home, but residents say vehicles drop them off almost weekly, presumably because of their crowing. 

 Others occasionally visit to pick up a new rooster.

“There’s been some lovely roosters,” said resident Mary Boyle, who leaves water for the birds when it’s dry.

“There were a couple of beautiful silkies a while ago and someone knocked on my door to ask if anyone owned them. I said no, so I think he took them.”

Indeed, neighbour Ross Crommelin said a district breeder ‘leaves’ his roosters when they don’t win first place at local shows. “We have plenty of second and third placegetters here,” he said.

The park is part of a nature reserve maintained by the national parks service.

A couple of years ago, when chicken numbers reached about 50, rangers took away 47 to a farm at Alstonville, said another neighbour, Lynne, who didn’t want to use her last name.

“There’s about 17 or so there now. You don’t see them all the time and you don’t hear them that often – they certainly don’t keep me awake at night.”

Mr Crommelin and his wife Annie, who have lived across the road for 10 years, said the crowing was annoying at first, but just like traffic noise ‘you get used to it’.

“They can be a nuisance, but they are entertaining,” he said.

With a smile he speaks of the time Annie chased a rooster after it took up residence on their front veranda.

“She eventually had to throw a blanket on it. I took it to the other end of the park and let it go, but it found its way back,” he said.


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