Sick As A Parrot

                                 Red Collared Lorikeet           Credit: Creative Commons - Wikipedia                

Australia has a lot of parrots. Some are prettier than others. The red collared lorikeet is a particularly handsome multicolored bird. Most of the year it is well behaved and a dandy around town in Darwin. However, as the dry season changes into the wet, the “Drunken Parrot Season” begins in Australia’s northern Territory (1).

The parrots get unusually friendly, stagger about, and fly into things in a thoroughly un-parrot-like manner, that is, at least for a well brought up lorikeet. The hangovers are rumored to be bad and some of them end up dead. A very sad state of affairs.

One source of the problem is the fermenting fruit that is available to binge on. But before we “tut tut” and censure the birds, there is another suggestion out there. It is that there may be a virus which is the root of the problem, either on its own or in conjunction with the booze.

A few years ago, the staggering parrots were few. Now the number has grown very significantly. The time has surely come to lend a helping hand. A twelve step program won’t work here. A concerted veterinary research effort is clearly needed.

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