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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Discoblog: Animal Heroics: Parrot Honored for Saving Choking Baby
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Mats Lindh
For one toddler in Colorado, parrots may displace dogs as man’s best friend. Willie the parrot warned his owner that a nearby baby was choking by repeating, “Mama, baby,” when the woman left the room and the toddler started to choke on her breakfast.
All was fine after the woman performed the Heimlich maneuver, but she gives credit to the parrot for the baby’s life. Willie was recognized on Friday with an Animal Lifesaver Award at an event called the Breakfast of Champions, attended by both the governor of Colorado and the mayor of Denver.
Willie’s call is just the latest in a string of heroic acts by non-humans—there was Buddy the German shepherd who called 911 last year when his owner began having a seizure (and is not the only dog to have done so), and a pod of dolphins who rescued a surfer from a great white shark. (Nor was that a unique incident.)