1 x 58 HD

Playful, mischievous and highly intelligent, Carnaby’s cockatoos are typical Aussie’s – larger than life, rowdy, fun loving and loud, their haunting calls heard long before you even catch sight of them.  A strong part of Australian folklore, the early settlers used to call these cockatoos ‘rain birds’.  As they migrated back to the breeding grounds, their screeches and squawks were a sign of good luck. Sadly, these days the booming call of the Carnaby’s cockatoo is more akin to a cry for help.

Some are still being smuggled for private collections. Others are illegally shot.  Together with land clearing, loss of native food habitat and injury from man-made structures, the Carnaby’s cockatoo is plummeting towards extinction.  The odds are against them and hope for their future lies in the hands of the local community and one man in particular, DEC Senior Wildlife Investigator Rick Dawson.

This year Rick is determined to protect one small family of Carnaby’s cockatoos at a ‘high risk’ nesting site. ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ follows the incredible life cycle of this family of striking birds as they migrate to breeding grounds in the south-west of Western Australia.   Every milestone in their struggle to survive is documented through the engaging story of  this small cockatoo family. This is a story of love, loss and sheer endurance.


  • Broadcaster: ABC TV
  • Distribution: ABC Commercial
  • Producers: Jodie De Barros & Leighton De Barros
  • Directors/Writers: Leighton De Barros & Samantha Smith
  • Director of Photography: Leighton De Barros
  • Executive Producer: Dione Gilmour