G’day darling! Flocks of chattering cockatoos that are driving Australia’s crazy
G’day darling! Talking birds that escaped from Australian owners teach wild cockatoos to speak
At first, people who heard whole flocks of birds talking to them from the trees thought they were losing their minds.
Cries of ‘Hello there!’, ‘G’day Darling!’, ‘What’s happening?’ from the tree tops from flocks of sulphur-crested cockatoos left householders wondering whether they were hearing things or just going mad.
But now a naturalist at the Australian Museum has confirmed pet birds that have escaped or been released by their owners have taught other birds phrases they have learned from humans.
Bird talk: Two cockatoos living in the wild in Australian’s Northern Territory
‘These birds are very smart and very social, meaning that communication and contact is important between them,’ said naturalist Martyn Robinson.
‘We’ve had people calling us thinking they are going mad or had something put into their drink because they’ve gone out to look at the flock of birds in their back yard and all the birds have been saying something like "Who’s a pretty boy, then?",’ said Mr Robinson.
The influx of talking flocks into the city – which have been learning to chatter among themselves from individual ‘teachers’ which have flown from their human owners – started after a drought in western New South Wales drove the birds towards new food sources.
The talking flocks include cockatoos, galahs, corellas and myna birds.
‘They’ve decided to stay and even begun to breed in the city, passing on their phrases to youngsters,’ said Mr Robinson.
Bird-brained: An expert at the Australian Museum claims birds can teach each other to talk
‘I just hope a pet that’s been taught dirty words doesn’t join a flock.’
When Sydney radio host Jason Morrison referred to the story in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today, his show was flooded with callers who said they had heard flocks of birds talking to them.
Mr Morrison was so taken with the story that he started mimicking the birds himself with a high pitch voice…’Hello there,’ he screeched to one caller.
The newspaper’s comment page has been contacted by large numbers of people who have decided to have their own type of fun with the story.
‘Be informed,’ said ‘Bluey’. ‘These aren’t wild birds…they are our present federal government politicians.’
Veritas, of Cairns, said: ‘Finally found out where politicians come from – the flock rejects. After all, we do call them Pollies.’
Another commenter said: ‘It’s true then, it makes sense now. I’ve sometimes thought I must’ve misheard wild cockatoos saying "Hello" and other babble.
‘This is so funny, but for once a story that puts a smile on your face.’