Parrots Plague Australian City

Fireworks and drones are being used to try to drive off thousands of noisy white Australasian cockatoos that are terrorizing parts of suburban Adelaide in South Australia. 

Corellas are a type of white cockatoo.  In the Australian city of Adelaide, large flocks of these small parrots have damaged street lights, stripped vegetation from trees and peppered homes with droppings.  

The local council has used a bird of prey to try to scare the corellas away, along with drones and pyrotechnics.  Residents are being encouraged to use noise and lights to move the marauding birds on, but, so far, have had no success.

Glenn Docherty, the mayor of Playford, a district in Adelaide, says the birds have been a real nuisance.

“It can be a bit daunting when you are having a nice, quiet time out the back cooking a barbie (barbecue) and (the) next thing you know you see the flight of the birds,” said Docherty. “So over time we have had a falconer, who has come out with a falcon, which is a natural predator of the birds to help disperse the flocks.  We use drones to help scatter the birds away along with pyrotechnics and also bird-scaring devices.”  

Officials say warm weather and ample food have brought the birds further south than usual.

The South Australian state government is being urged by residents to do more to control the corellas.  There are concerns the size of the flocks will continue to grow and will encroach further across Adelaide.  

There are similar problems in the city of Melbourne, where large flocks of screeching parrots are also causing disturbances.  Experts say a previous attempt by state authorities to reduce an out-of-control cockatoo population in the 1980s might be to blame.  Back then, permits were issued for corellas to be trapped and sold cheaply as caged pets.  However, the birds dislike being locked up and were very noisy in captivity.  It is thought many adult birds were simply released back into the wild by their owners, where they have bred prodigiously.

Corellas are considered highly intelligent and able to exploit new sources of food, but little is known about their patterns of migration.

This story was written by VOA’s Phil Mercer in Sydney.

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