Pretty fellow, isn't he? But I feel sorry for the people in the next-door cabins, as galahs have a really horrible, ear-piercing screech.
But here is the story --
An Australian cockatoo has enjoyed a scenic cruise around New Zealand in a luxury cabin after staging a getaway from its Brisbane home.
The bird – a variety of cockatoo known in Australia as a galah – was discovered by cruise ship staff when they docked at Milford Sound in New Zealand’s South Island, after travelling at least 2,300 kilometres without detection.
The staff alerted the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to the avian stowaway, which is not native to New Zealand and posed a threat to the country’s fragile native bird population.
MPI officers then had to decide whether to detain the bird or have it put down. “The only way for the ship to enter New Zealand was to have the bird euthanised or secured and bonded to the vessel,” said Andrew Spelman, an MPI Border Clearance Services Manager.
The cruise ship officers opted to save the galah’s life and secured it in an empty cabin on board the ship, allowing the cruise liner to continue its journey.
“We needed photographic evidence of its containment and the name of an officer responsible for looking after the bird,” said Spelman, who said the galah was subject to strict conditions on board.
“There was also a requirement for MPI officers to check on the bird and its containment facilities at every new port visit in New Zealand.”
A microchip was found embedded under the skin of the solo traveller and MPI officials have located its owner in Brisbane after working on the case with their counterparts in Australia.
The cruise ship will be returning to Australia this week, with the bird cleared to fly home in Brisbane after undergoing a vet check.
There are 168 bird species in New Zealand and about a third are threatened with extinction, with dozens more on the endangered list. Some species have dwindled to a few hundred individuals tucked away in isolated pockets of the country.
Galahs usually spend their days sleeping to avoid the heat and build their nests in the hollows of euculpytus trees. The parrots travel in “huge, noisy flocks”, and roost with their companions at night – including their mating partner, with whom they bond for life.