White Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos – they’re cute as bunnies when they’re sittng on a pirate’s shoulder, or perched safely in an enclosure holding a peanut to their beak in one clever claw, or bobbing up and down in the famous ‘cocky dance’ saying “Polly want a cracker,” or paying homage to the hero of a Russian novel, who seems unaccountably popular in some parts of Australia, “Count Zarkoff! Count Zarkoff!” If the average Aussie is teaching Tolstoy to their babbling birds, it rather disproves the notion that Australians are mostly uncultured larrikins.
In a widely reported related issue, cockatoos that have escaped into the wild have been teaching human language to native flocks. It’s both amusing and startling to hear a gang of cockies or galahs hanging about in parks and on street corners saying, “G’day darling,” or shrieking more rambunctious phrases to passers-by.
However, the large flocks with sometimes thousands of birds are also known for devastating crops and creating an unholy ruckus, and sometimes their shenanigans may have deadlier consequences.
In a scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, one amateur naturalist got more than he bargained for. Watch the video to see just how dangerous a large, amazing flock of cockatoos can be.
While the cacophony of cockatoos perhaps adds insult to injury, our intrepid videographer now resembles a hero from another Hitchcock classic, Rear Window. For safety’s sake he may be using a tripod in future, for filming and walking.