We love these examples of birds behaving badly. Whilst it must be horrible to be attacked by seagulls one has to admire mischievous birds. Of course in the UK our feathered fiends are saintly compared to Australian standards.
It all started in 1932 when reports of large numbers of emus damaging crops began to escalate. Armed soldiers were deployed to shoot the flightless birds, beginning a war the men would ultimately lose!
It’s not just the emus…
Birds develop behaviours depending one their local culture and environment. So just as gulls will learn to snatch pasties and ice creams at the beach, magpies in Australia have developed the habit of attacking people. No one knows why, but they have. They seem to prefer attacking men and particularly cyclists.
“Magpie attacks are always directed at the head. Their weapons of choice are a closed beak or open claws, or they bite and leave two fine cuts where the skin has been pinched and sliced. They also dive bomb, the bird flying fast and using its full body weight to buffet the back of the intruder’s neck or head. This sort of attack can stun and may cause serious bruising” – The Guardian
The magpies aren’t the only birds behaving badly
The magpies seem to have taught the crows to attack people too.
Drunk and disorderly
Some birds like a tipple. Some birds like to get blind drunk. In Canada birds eating fruit late in the year have been studied getting drunk on rowanberries, whilst in Australia, lorikeets have died whilst drunk flying. Some ended up recovering in a drunk tank. Meanwhile in America the poor souls have been spiked with alcohol to see if they start slurring.
“But many of the lorikeets brought to the hospital aren’t just mildly drunk – they’re completely sloshed, and sometimes for days at a time” – Australian Geographic
Birds on acid
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
It’s called Anting and it’s actually a thing in the bird community. Some say it’s to help with moulting, to reduce parasites or even to inoculate the birds so they can eat the ants… I think if you look at his little face you’ll see that he’s high as a kite, and I don’t mean a red kite.
“Birds were found to show anting behaviour only if the ants had a full acid sac, and with subjects whose acid sacs had been experimentally removed, the behaviour was absent” – Wikipedia
That’s not the worse of it.
In India even firecrackers won’t keep these birds away from their fix of opium.
“the dope-craving birds will sit perched on trees near the poppies until workers slit open the pods…The parrots, numbering in the hundreds, have learned not to squawk. They swoop down, nibble off the stalks and fly back to the trees, where they nod off for hours, sometimes even falling to their deaths” – Huffington Post
There’s nothing like food cooked on an open fire.
On top of all the other birds behaving badly, these Australian birds of prey deliberately start fires to flush out prey… They commit arson for heaven sake. Aussie birds are hardcore.
With drink, drugs, violence and arson already in the mix, it comes as no surprise that birds behaving badly are stealing as well. Look at this selfie. #ThugLife