Trash Parrots Are Clever Troublemakers

In the battle of parrots versus the residents of Sydney, which side takes the victory? Parrots are creating chaos with their guilty habit of stealing and dining on household garbage. The residents are searching for ways to ward them off but their efforts at steering them away end in vain when the parrots keep outsmarting them.

Given the parrots’ love for garbage, people have given them the insulting nickname “trash parrots.” The locals were frustrated cleaning up after the bird mess and resorted to heavy-duty methods to stop the parrots. Unfortunately, they always end up finding a loophole.

Initially, a tightly shut trash can kept the parrots away. However, the birds caught on fast and adapted to the new strategy. They have figured out how to open the lid and dive into the bin to satisfy the hungry.

The residents have tried placing a heavy brick on top of the trash can but the weight of the brick wasn’t enough to stop them. They pushed off the brick like a feather and continued.

They tried more methods such as stuffing old shoes and sticks into the hinges. It worked for a short while but wasn’t a good long-term solution.

Next, some residents began to take advantage of the parrots’ fear of snakes by placing fake rubber snakes near the bins. The birds realized that these snakes weren’t a real threat so instead of deterring them, the snakes turned into nice accessories for their heavy meal.

Locks aren’t only for valuables as residents started locking the bins with heavy-duty locks that people use to prevent bears. Even though the locks were effective at keeping the parrots away, they also kept the garbage collectors away. They were unable to collect the locked-up rubbish.

People may be irritated to find last night’s supper on the lawn but biologists are fascinated by animal behavior. They were intrigued when they discovered that not all cockatoos go about opening the trash can in identical ways. No two troublemakers are alike and each bird has their unique strategy to create a nuisance.

“We observed that the birds do not open the garbage bins in the same way but rather used different opening techniques in different suburbs,” said Barbara Klump, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Radolfzell, Germany.

Birdbrain might be a compliment, after all.