The town of Palmerston, Australia is now the unwilling host of a parrot frat party. Hundreds of lorikeets appear to be drunk: The disoriented birds are passing out cold and falling from tree branches.
Though seemingly inebriated parrots have been spotted before in Palmerston, never has the town seen this many at once. The situation concerns veterinarians, since the birds are injuring themselves, and, untreated, could die.
About eight lorikeets arrive each day to the Ark Animal Hospital, which cares for about thirty at a time. “They definitely seem like they’re drunk,” Lisa Hansen, a veterinary surgeon at the hospital told the the AFP. “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 and colleagues nurses them to health by feeding them a “hangover” broth that includes sweet fruit.
Literally drunk parrots have appeared in other parts of the world, for example in Austria in 2006, when birds ate rotting, fermenting berries. This time the inebriated birds remain a mystery: Some locals speculate that the birds are feasting on something something alcoholic, but others fear they have caught an unknown illness.
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Image: Wikimedia Commons / Mats Lindh