Drunken parrots falling out of trees in Australia

Published On Wed Jun 2 2010Email Print Republish Add to Favourites Report an error Share Share168 Article

A pair of presumably sober Lorkeets. A town in Australia has been scooping up dozens of the birds who mysteriously have been displaying symptoms of inebriation and falling out of trees.

TIM CHONG/REUTERS

Cathal Kelly
Staff Reporter

For several weeks, the residents of Palmerston, Australia, have been scooping up apparently drunken parrots at the roadside and taking them to a local animal shelter to dry out.

Dozens of lorikeets have been landing face first, tottering around uncertainly and no doubt insisting they’re “jusht fine” to fly home.

“They definitely seem like they're drunk,” Lisa Hansen, a veterinary surgeon at the Ark Animal Hospital told Agence France-Presse. “They fall out of trees . . . and they're not so coordinated as they would normally be. They go to jump and they miss the next perch.”

Hansen has three dozen of the parrots just coming off shore leave in her shelter. They spend their days lying on the bottom of a cage, trying to block out the light by shoving their heads under scattered newspapers.

The “drunken” lorikeet infestation isn’t new. It’s a yearly occurrence. Animal experts suspect that the birds are eating an unknown food that causes the appearance of intoxication.

But Hansen has never seen the phenomenon in such numbers.

Vets are treating the avian DTs with fresh fruit and sweetened porridge.
The Star