Most older Australians could go on to tell you “the brolgas are dancing, lifting their feet like war horses prancing”, but they might get a bit vague after that. The next three lines of this Australian Christmas carol are:
Up to the sun the woodlarks go winging
Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing
Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas Day.
A few days ago, we were out on the road going due north from the opal mining town of White Cliffs, on our way to Wanaaring (which is 190 kms west of Bourke in north-west NSW). We’d seen hundreds of emus, and thousands of cockatoos and assorted other birds, but suddenly there they were – seven elegant brolgas, not dancing, but walking in a very graceful manner.
It was a beautiful sight!
In my experience, unless you do your homework and find out just where to look, you won’t see many brolgas. And I’ve never seen them dancing (which is part of their mating ritual, and not intended to be a tourist attraction).