Friday, 15 June 2007

Here be parrots

Australia is a land of parrots. Occasionally, you might think it's a land of galahs but there are other types. Quite a few. On my short tour of the Dandenongs, I dropped into Olinda for lunch. I wasn't alone. The sulphur-crested cockatoos were also there in force.

A benevolent store-owner put out seeds for the birds, who assembled en masse in the trees and on the lawn. It was a beautiful sight. Sulphur-crested cockatoos always look immaculate. (Well, almost always. They have their street urchin moments.) Who can resist that dazzling white plumage and lemon yellow crest. And when they fluff up the feathers on their cheeks, they're utterly adorable.

Until they get bored. And then they turn into mobsters.

I wonder what happens when the seed runs out. Do the birds fly off? Or do they hang around, peeling off the paint from the woodwork, plucking at the telephone wires and dismantling the outside displays? Cockatoos run protection rackets. Hand over the seeds or there'll be a nasty little accident.

(Healesville Sanctuary used to have an aviary of cockatoos. Telecommunications companies would give them material for testing. If it survived the attentions of a cockatoo or two, it would survive just about anything.)

Sulphur-crested cockatoos weren't the only species to benefit from the store-owner's generosity. A pair of galahs and a small flock of crimson rosellas hung around to mop up the left overs.


sarala said...

Your birds sure seem exotic compared to ours in the northern hemisphere. But we have a few (transplanted) green parrots wild here.

Snail said...

We don't do badly with parrots! I think Australia has about 50 or so species.