A group of marauding cockatoos have been wreaking havoc on an otherwise peaceful Whitsunday Island.
The cockatoos said “Living on an island where everybody else is on holiday is great. Especially this island which is so expensive that nobody can afford to stay for more than a couple of nights. We can keep performing the same old routine to a constantly changing audience. The guests never stay long enough to get wise to our antics.”
The cockatoos have been targeting the balconies of the holiday apartments overlooking Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island.
“We find we get the maximum effect if we work as a team,” explained the cockatoos. “To begin with when someone new arrives at an apartment, just one of us will pop down to sit on their balcony and welcome them to the resort. If the guests aren’t Australian, they’ll usually get very excited to see us and will rush to take a photo of us. Of course we’ll sit very still in the perfect pose until a couple of seconds before they press the button. At that point we’ll fly away.”
Throughout the day the cockatoos monitor all of the balconies. “People often like to eat their meals on the balcony,” explained the cockatoos. “So what we’re doing is constantly looking out for the guests who take more than one journey to set the table. The one who brings out a delicious salad then goes back inside to get a knife and fork, we’ve swooped in and removed everything from her plate before she’s even opened the cutlery drawer. Guests learn fast and you know she won’t make the same mistake again, but you also know there’ll be someone else on her balcony in two days time who will do exactly the same thing. Different guests have different tastebuds, so we get to sample all sorts of different cuisines. It’s great.”
The cockatoos all agreed that their favourite part of the day is the late afternoon. “We all congregate on the balconies and screech as loudly as we can. We’re very noisy birds and there’s over a hundred of us, so we can really create quite a powerful sound.”
The cockatoos have noticed that this is also the time of day that guests start returning to their apartments to get ready for the evening, leaving their wet towels and swimwear on the balconies to dry overnight. “This is a huge part of our day,” explained the cockatoos. “We basically need to swoop in and remove absolutely everything that has been placed on the balconies. We do try to fly a few metres with each garment before we release it onto the ground so that it’s definitely hidden from the people it belongs to. The main aim is to try and make it land somewhere that’s not necessarily easy to get to, such as the branches of a tall tree or the middle of the swimming pool. We quite like the vicious circle of a person needing their swimsuit in order to go into the pool to retrieve their swimsuit. If they even ever realise that’s where their swimsuit has been hidden of course.”
Guest Caroline Gough watched the action unfold whilst relaxing in the resort jacuzzi. “They really are unscrupulous birds,” she said. “It’s literally been raining shorts, towels and bikinis ever since I got into the jacuzzi. There’s a newly arrived couple on a balcony on the seventh floor who have just been showered with a large pack of BBQ shapes (a popular Australian savoury snack) and some blue swimming shorts. At the moment, they’re looking up in disgust and shouting ‘control your bloody kids’ at the innocent family above them.”
“We like to add a bit of spice to everyone’s holidays,” said the cockatoos.