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Drunken Parrot Season Starts in Australia

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the fly-a-straight-line dept.

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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97 comments

Seems plausible (4, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529784)

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

Re:Seems plausible (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529860)

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

How about when you're sober. Can you fly then?

Re:Seems plausible (5, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529884)

How about when you're sober. Can you fly then?

No, I find it equally difficult. Being drunk just makes it seem like a much better idea to try.

Re:Seems plausible (4, Funny)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531248)

You have to throw yourself at the ground and miss. That's the trick.

Re:Seems plausible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534436)

Or Jump ... but before you hit the ground you Jump again.

Re:Seems plausible (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534792)

Neat fact: My grandfather could only play pool while drunk. When sober his hands would shake and ruin all his shots.

A few drinks to warm up, then he'd be running the table.

Re:Seems plausible (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535132)

Bill Werbeniuk [wikipedia.org] , a professional snooker player in the 1970s and 1980s used to drink six pints of beer before a match for the same reason. He was ranked as high as 8th in the world too. He drank a lot more pints during and after the matches too. Of course the heavy drinking eventually turned on him, causing heart problems which eventually killed him.

Re:Seems plausible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534916)

No, I know I can't fly. But I can glide!

W
e
e
e
e
e
e
e.

Re:Seems plausible (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529890)

Hell. This pretty much describes me sober.

Re:Seems plausible (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531504)

Clearly, lorikeets are nerds.

Re:Seems plausible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37533516)

Makes sense to me. I love lorikeets. Spent some time with them in St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) last February, and they're friendly, playful birds who have no fear of humans and are happy to perform for you.

Re:Seems plausible (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529956)

As Dean Martin explained: "You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on."

Re:Seems plausible (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37532712)

I blame pirates, they must have turned parrots into alcoholics back in the 1500s.

Re:Seems plausible (1)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536806)

The international Talk like a Pirate day was just last week, do you think it's a coincidence?

They need to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37529834)

party with these guys!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSm7BcQHWXk

It's no mystery (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37529844)

All the other Abbos are drunks, too.

Why Do Anything? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529862)

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

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529950)

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

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530324)

neither are humans, everyone needs to get their roaming bitch ass back to the plains of west africa ASAP!

Re:Why Do Anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535194)

neither are humans, everyone needs to get their roaming bitch ass back to the plains of west africa ASAP!

well except for the indians in canada. they've always been here, haven't you heard? that's why they are the only "true" canadians.

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530518)

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.

Re:Why Do Anything? (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530022)

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.

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530082)

Maybe they used to die if they were sensitive, but now we save them so they can breed? Way to neuter natural selection, Australia.

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530230)

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.

Re:Why Do Anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37530672)

Maybe they are drinking to forget the suffering of the human occupation?

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531056)

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

Re:Why Do Anything? (1)

PwnzerDragoon (2014464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37532094)

Because they're colorful and cute, like pandas and dolphins. If they looked like flies or rats nobody would care.

We call that "college mating season" in the U.S. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529874)

Here it usually begins sometime around the fifth Jägerbomb and ends with someone pissing on a stick and seeing a "+" sign.

obviously it is... (2)

atarione (601740) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 for parrots? (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529926)

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.

concert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37529928)

Obviously due to a Jimmy Buffet concert in the area.

my mistake (2)

rish87 (2460742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37529990)

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.

Re:my mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37530166)

That wasn't marker. Lorikeets just don't wipe until they've found a mark.

Re:my mistake (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530522)

that's actually a sign of well bred parrots. since he found no cloaca marks on his tongue that means they were kind enough to clean before they made him perform drunken oral sex on them

How is this hard to determine (2)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:How is this hard to determine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37530436)

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, ...

I used to live in a house with several wild cherry trees in the yard. Each fall the ground would be carpeted with the ripe and fermenting berries as they fell off the trees. The birds, robins I remember in particular, used to gorge themselves on the berries and would exhibit drunken behavior, flopping over, flying into windows and the like.

Re:How is this hard to determine (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530488)

scientist with breathalizer: "ok pal, breath into the machine !"

parrot: "fuck you, pig!"

Re:How is this hard to determine (2)

Nqdiddles (805995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530670)

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 flapping wings without getting off the ground. And they'd fall over, run into things and generally seem to be engaging in very obnoxious behavior. Much the same as my Alexandrian parrot would later do when my girlfriend let it drink apply cider.

This might not be so simple (1)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37533240)

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 out whether the birds are actually drunk or not.

Re:This might not be so simple (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37543970)

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."

Re:How is this hard to determine (1)

jmuzz (1953550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548044)

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.

Re:How is this hard to determine (1)

frenchbedroom (936100) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536756)

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.

Robins do this in central Oregon too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37530238)

The robin migration happens in the central part of Oregon (high desert type area) right when the juniper trees have their blue berries all over them. These apparently get the birds very high and they are fond of them. They, too, fall out of trees, squak crazily, and have mid-air collisons with each other and anything on which they were trying to land. Trees can have over a hundred robins in them at a time, it's actually quite hilarious to watch. If you're in the Pacific NW it might be a closer trip than down under to see the hilarity.

Drunken Parrot Season??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37530278)

I got an entirely different vibe from that headline than it being the time of year the Parrots are getting drunk. Greater challenge because they don't fly straight?

Just what the Aussies need (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530328)

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.

Re:Just what the Aussies need (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37532932)

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.

Animal drunkenness (1)

Fnordulicious (85996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530512)

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 too. There was one moose a few years ago in downtown Anchorage that was stumbling around drunk and managed to get a string of Christmas lights in his antlers.

Re:Animal drunkenness (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531652)

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 had been "ripened" and she thought it smelled a bit funny. Yeah, that's because it was supposed to :), tasted fine to me, but I had to add the alcohol myself.

Re:Animal drunkenness (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37532786)

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.

Re:Animal drunkenness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37531690)

Here in comparatively balmy southern Canada the same thing happens to robins and other birds feasting on mountain ash and other bush/tree berries. It's *hilarious* when there are flocks of them, especially in the wintertime when conditions thaw a bit. I remember one time there must have been a dozen robins fumbling and flopping around on the snow in the yard. They must have quite the headache the next morning, especially after bumping into a few things while trying to take off.

Re:Animal drunkenness (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37534868)

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

Re:Animal drunkenness (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537906)

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...

Open season? (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530698)

So does this mean that you can hunt parrots in Australia, but only if they are drunk? That seems like a very unsporting hunt.

Re:Open season? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531474)

No, no, this is the season where you can get drunk and hunt parrots. A handicap, like muzzle-loader or archery season.

New game for Ipad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37530844)

Drunken Birds.

I can see it now... (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37530902)

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

Re:I can see it now... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531736)

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.

Ha! In Sweden MOOSE that fall of the trees! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531542)

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

Drunken Blue Jays (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531574)

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).

Re:Drunken Blue Jays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37532006)

In the San Francisco Bay Area we get robins drunk on fermented pyracantha berries. I assume they're not the only birds, I just notice them the most.

Molds and mildews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37531598)

With wet weather and elevated temperatures also comes overgrowth of molds, mildews, algae, etc that could easily cause the symptoms described.

See It (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37531708)

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.

Why is this in /.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37532092)

News for nerds...? Not even in Idle ... come back, Taco.

Only happened once here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37532592)

There is a tree just below my patio and the rainbow lorikets are there all year round for more than the 15 years I've been here and only once have I seen them drunk on the fruit rolling around under the tree screeching and that tree flowers every year. Lets all blame climate change.

They make nasty drunks as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37532984)

Seriously, beaks like razors, they used to stagger around drunk monstering other much larger birds.

Lori's aren't large parrots, more like the small guy in the bar who gets drunk and picks a fight with the largest person there.

They used to get smashed on fermenting mangos in our backyard, at night they were replaced by fruitbats, lying on their backs covered with mango pulp from the fruit that had fallen on top of them when they fell out of the tree and swearing.

Re:They make nasty drunks as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37533696)

Seriously, beaks like razors, they used to stagger around drunk monstering other much larger birds.

Lori's aren't large parrots, more like the small guy in the bar who gets drunk and picks a fight with the largest person there.

They used to get smashed on fermenting mangos in our backyard, at night they were replaced by fruitbats, lying on their backs covered with mango pulp from the fruit that had fallen on top of them when they fell out of the tree and swearing.

Even sober rainbow lorikeets chase and harass bush turkeys and turkeys are not small birds. In fact rainbow lorikeets chase magpies, crows and just about anything else. They will even bite the fingers on the hand that feeds them.

Is there a rule on /. about Australia posts now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37533944)

Are the "editors" required to post something about Australia each day, no matter how pointless, inane or uninteresting it is?

This Aussie "story" is really scraping the bottom of the barrel, which, I'm certain you'll agree, is really saying something.

Darwin Vet? Ark Animal Hospital? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534696)

...Darwin vet Dr Stephen Cutter from The Ark Animal Hospital.

Is that supposed to be some kind of joke? I thought Noah's Ark was the opposite of evolution?

Seen this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534970)

I live in the southern part of Australia and in my last house we had a massive locquat tree. At the end of the season when the leftover fruit was fermenting, flocks of lorikeets used to come in and raid the tree daily. They'd get louder and louder as they ate more and I even saw one 'looping the loop' on a branch, going round and round while squawking.. They always seemed to have trouble flying in a straight line on their way out..

Old news if your a country WA driver during harves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535144)

Seriously, this is practically a sport in West Australia with the "28 Parrots" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Ringneck . Wheat harvest time they're all along the side of the road in groups of 20-30 sitting there waiting for the wheat trucks to go past and spill wheat (watch for a pot-hole or wallow) .. meals on wheels! Anyway.. once they sit in the lovely +40C summer heat, the wheat in their crops ferments and the buggars get drunk. To the point where you go driving past doing ~140kph and there's 20+ in the middle of the road, you can't brake and they're all trying to fly away with only 1 wing going, colliding into each other, rolling all over the place and WHAM!! Green feathers everywhere and you earn 10 points a bird :P Pwn3d!

heh

Drunken Lorikeets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538214)

How can be sure this isn't just viral marketing for another Angry Birds rip off??

Southern Hemisphere (1)

WileyC (188236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539092)

Science, bah! The answer is obvious: it's spring break in Australia and all the birds are trying to hook up and get drunk. What they should be looking for are tiny, soaked T-shirts.

Is it really? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540488)

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.

Not surprising (1)

Paul1969 (1976328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541850)

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!

sub for 'Bama Bruzer Beer' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37543506)

There's a Prez over in the U.S. that could use some of that. He's been getting by making his own in the White House basaement.

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