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Drunken Parrot Season Starts in Australia 97

bazzalunatic writes "Each wet season in northern Australia dozens of colorful lorikeets have to be rescued because they appear drunk, fall out of trees and even get a hangover-like sickness. No one knows quite what's going on, but the best explanation is they get smashed from fermented fruit. From the story: 'Experts say they are not sure if the lorikeets are actually drunk, but they do have tell-tale symptoms. "They exhibit odd behavior like falling over or difficulty flying [and] they keep running into things," says Darwin vet Dr Stephen Cutter from The Ark Animal Hospital.'"
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Drunken Parrot Season Starts in Australia

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  • by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) * on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:55PM (#37529784)

    I also fall over, have difficulty flying and run into things when drunk.

  • ...a loud clang and laughter ensue.
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:00PM (#37529848) Journal

    The aborigines are messing around with parrot jammers.

  • If it's a "natural event", why do they need to be "saved"? Shoudn't we let nature take its course?

    • I'm sure AGW is at fault, so no.
    • Because cats and cars aren't "natural" in northern Australia?

      • Because cats and cars aren't "natural" in northern Australia?

        They are now!

      • neither are humans, everyone needs to get their roaming bitch ass back to the plains of west africa ASAP!
      • When I was in Australia, I remember watching drunk parrots chase cats. Most cats back down when something walks at them. What a bunch of pussies. Ouch, that hurt to type.

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      Because according to some articles, something is changing the nature of the event - it used to be that only a handful of birds were affected each season, the numbers are now increasing significantly with each season.

      • Maybe they used to die if they were sensitive, but now we save them so they can breed? Way to neuter natural selection, Australia.
      • Because according to some articles, something is changing the nature of the event - it used to be that only a handful of birds were affected each season, the numbers are now increasing significantly with each season.

        Think about it: Where natural selection might have eliminated a certain number of these birds, keeping the total number in the same range year after year, now we "save" them. Thus *OF COURSE* the number of these birds is increasing.

      • by MagicM ( 85041 )

        Damn hipster parrots ruining it for the truly original crowd by making it mainstream.

      • As the world gets ever bleaker, more and more turn to drink. It's not just parrots.
    • Because they're colorful and cute, like pandas and dolphins. If they looked like flies or rats nobody would care.
  • Here it usually begins sometime around the fifth Jägerbomb and ends with someone pissing on a stick and seeing a "+" sign.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:02PM (#37529878)

    Let's find these magic trees where the party is obviously at.

  • by atarione ( 601740 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:06PM (#37529914)

    parrot spring break?

    sweeeeeet so i looked an my joke actually makes sense cause it is fucking spring time in Australia right about now...OH HOW MUCH DO I OWN???

  • AA meetings would be so much more fun with a fuck ton of parrots at them also...just saying Parrots if you are ready to make a change..and all.

  • so that's why i woke up next to a parrot this morning
  • don't make the mistake I did and underestimate these little guys. They drank me under the table and I woke up the next day with black marker cloacas all over my face.
  • Jimmy Buffet would say that it's always drunken parrot season ...
  • by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:25PM (#37530200)
    Couldn't a simple blood test/tox screen tell scientists quickly if it is alcohol or some other source? Basically scientists are saying "they act drunk, we don't know for certain why". They could be eating piles of rotted fruit, or a naturally occoring berry, or poisonous insects or fumes from machinery. They could be doing it intentionally or accidentally. Bottom line is, if you are going to go to the trouble of posting a study... shouldn't some research and diagnostics be done if it is worth caring about?
    • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:41PM (#37530488)
      scientist with breathalizer: "ok pal, breath into the machine !"

      parrot: "fuck you, pig!"
    • I find it surprising that the experts are saying they don't know what causes it, seeing as I knew when I was all of 10 years old - I used to watch it happen in our back yard. We had mango trees. The fruit would fall to the ground (usually knocked off by fruit bats), it would sit in the sun and ferment (and smell), and the birds would come and pick at it. What followed was always hilarious to watch - very loud birds acting very drunk, and usually unable to fly - they'd run around on the ground randomly flapp
      • Birds getting drunk on fermented berries is common all around the world and that's one of the options they're considering. However, TFA says that it might not be the case here: The effects can last days even after the bird is brought in for treatment, which really shouldn't happen seeing how amazingly fast metabolism parrots have. Also, the fact that these have so dramatically increased in the last ten years suggests that there might be more to it.

        That said... It's really suspicious that they can't figure

        • Don't you have to like, have a liver clear the alcohol out of your system? I'm no doctor, but it would stand to reason that any metabolism, regardless of how amazingly fast it is, still needs to be filtered to remove present toxins. I'm sure they have livers, but is it sufficient in size to remove the toxin at the pace with which larger mammals can? The effects of alcohol poisoning (which, imo, could account for the "more than simple drunkenness") seem to be a pretty obvious "duh."
      • by jmuzz ( 1953550 )

        I find it surprising that the experts are saying they don't know what causes it, seeing as I knew when I was all of 10 years old - I used to watch it happen in our back yard.

        And because you weren't stupid you didn't rush them to the local vet (who seems to be the "expert" in the article), you just let them sort themselves out.

        The vet is getting more drunk birds in because there is an increase in stupid people who are out of touch with the nature around them. They find the drunk bird and interfere, dropping it into the vet.

        More drunk birds at the vet does not mean there are more cases of drunk birds occurring, only that more are being taken to the vet.

    • FTFA :

      It's not known what is wrong with the birds, but it's possibly the effect of a virus combined with ingesting alcohol from fermenting fruit. The affects usually last for a couple of days, far longer than you would expect if it was just alcohol-related, Stephen says. Additional symptoms which suggest that the condition is more than than simply drunkenness include respiratory problems and a discharge from bird's nostrils, mouth and eyes.

      So it seems they have a good reason to think that it's not alcohol, or not just alcohol... but yeah, they should just test the birds instead of scratching their heads.

  • Big, drunk, angry birds with sharp beaks! I've owned a caique parrot, which is a little bit smaller than a lorakeet. They can be quite vicious when they are angry, very capable of drawing blood.
    • We've had a lorikeet before. I don't believe they have the attention span to be "angry". I'm also unaware as how you'd differentiate drunkenness from their usual behaviour.

  • This happens elsewhere too. In Alaska various juncos, chickadees, pine siskins, and other small songbirds will get drunk off of mountain ash berries that freeze and ferment on the tree during the late fall and early winter. This has happened since "time immemorial" according to various Athabaskan and Tlingit elders I've talked to, and they have always enjoyed watching the drunken antics.

    Moose will get drunk from eating crabapples frozen and fermented on the tree. I think they browse the mountain ash berries

    • In NL, it is rather common for "kramsvogels", fieldfares acording to my dictionary to eat fermented berries. They get as drunk as any other mamal trying to eat the berries. It's absolutely fun to watch, but not very special technically speaking. Also, according to some bird info, drunk birds will be lower on the picking order.

      Anyway, in Greenland man eats kiviaq, which is fermented bird. Sounds entirely more gruesome to me. Then again, I could just safe a hare that my female friend had received. The hare ha

      • I remember reading about the pink pigeons on Mauritius that would get intoxicated on berries, but the locals stayed away from them rather than enjoy the easy pickings. One of the byproducts of the digestion of fermented berries was supposedly hydrogen cyanide, which didn't hurt the birds but isn't exactly something you want to ingest with dinner.

    • Yep. There's a video online of a moose stuck in an apple tree - too smashed to figured his way out of that one.

    • The African elephant will eat fermented amarula fruit. Drunk elephants are quite a problem as they are large and strong enough to do a lot of damage...

  • It's probably better than drunken pirate season!
  • So does this mean that you can hunt parrots in Australia, but only if they are drunk? That seems like a very unsporting hunt.
  • For some of the birds the drunkeness makes them angry and so they catapault themselves at pigs.

  • Global warming is causing an increase in wild yeast's ability to ferment the parrot's fruit diet.
    • Global warming is causing an increase in wild yeast's ability to ferment the parrot's fruit diet.

      Will you Climate Change people just put a sock in it? I am so sick and tired of Every Damn Thing today being a product of a very discredited Global Warming Theory.

  • Parrots, big deal. In Sweden drunk moose [] fall of trees.

  • One of my neighbors when I was a kid had a couple of big mulberry trees that put out enormous quantities of fruit. When it was all ripe and overripe, it would fall to the ground and ferment - just walking by you could smell alcohol. The blue jays used to binge on this stuff and get quite loaded. First, they'd get very very noisy. A while later you'd see them just walking down the sidewalk, not even thinking about flying anywhere. Pretty funny (except the hangover when they woke up the next day, I suppose).

  • I've seen it myself in the rainforests of coastal Australia and it's not some wild theory there - it just happens that way and everybody knows it. And that was years ago. Why it is being presented here as some great mystery remaining to be solved is the mystery itself.

    Of course, if the government wants to give a $1 million grant and a lot of good grain alcohol to study it first-hand, sign me up.
  • They say they think it is what is making them act this way, how about a confirmation, as maybe there might be some toxic gases or such, that might be affecting wildlife, and just assuming things are one thing instead of having proof, is what they should be going on.

  • Anybody who has lived near an apple orchard knows all about drunken birds. Apples fall to the ground, ferment as they start to rot, and get eaten by the local bird population.
    Bears get drunk on rotting fruit, too. You do not want to encounter a drunken bear!

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