Dangerous Birds in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Our holiday in New South Wales

September 2007

I was intrigued by the signs in one part of the Royal Botanic Gardens during our recent visit to Sydney. The signs were encouraging – instructing – visitors NOT to feed the birds. People often think it is great to have flocks of Silver Gulls, for example, crowding around them while they throw out scraps of food to the birds. Human food is not good for the birds and it just encourages them to become reliant on these handouts. Some species can also become very aggressive. One such species is the White Ibis in Sydney and the Straw-necked Ibis elsewhere. (I believe the latter has been a problem in Brisbane parks for example.) An Ibis can be very frightening for a two or three year old child, and potentially dangerous if the bird starts pecking the child trying to get food.

In one part of the botanic gardens there was a small flock of about a dozen Sulphur-crested Cockatoos feeding on the grass. I was able to get a number of good photos because they were quite tame. A group of tourists (possibly German) had either not seen the signs or were ignoring them. They started feeding the cockatoos who became very aggressive, landing on the woman with the food (see photo below). I tried to warn her about their potential to give a nasty bite but she either didn’t understand or didn’t hear me. I was not surprised when one cockatoo gave her a nasty bite on the arm.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

 

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