The Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) is a very common cockatoo in many areas of Australia.
They are quite striking with their lovely pink and grey plumage. Like most members of the parrot family they also seem to have big personalities. In fact in Australian slang someone who is a bit of a joker or who acts in a silly way is often referred to as a “galah”.
I only noticed recently as I watched some of these lovely birds in the back yard that young galahs in particular are hilarious. Why?
- Because they haven’t fully developed their adult feathers they look rather scruffy and unkempt. In particular the crest on their head is pathetic. This gives them a very comical appearance. In fact, I think they look like slightly inebriated punk rockers (but that’s just my overactive imagination).
- They haven’t developed fully some the skills necessary for successful life as a galah – like flying and landing.
I saw a young galah follow his parents down to the ground to feed. While mum and dad they made perfect and graceful landings, Junior had a little problem with the landing part. All looked well until he reached the ground at which point he had not worked out the dynamics of actually stopping. The result was that he did a rather unceremonious nose dive and ended up tumbling end over end. But no harm was done. He shook himself off and happily joined his parents. I’m sure that with practice he will be come adept at both flying and landing.
At this time of the year the galahs seem to be digging up roots from certain plants and devouring them with evident delight. This was another area that was presenting a problem for Junior. It seemed simple enough. Using that strong beak you dig down, grab the desirable root, pull it from the ground and then enjoy it at your leisure. He had the “dig down and grab the desirable root” bit down pat. However when he went to pull he ended up face-planting himself into the ground. Hoping that no one had seen his ignominious failure he tried to get back up only to find out that the roots were tangled around his legs, wings and beak. This led to multiple face-plants and much mirth on my part. But he was not one to give up! He kept trying, rid himself of the entanglements, and eventually enjoyed his snack. Like landing, I’m sure that his technique will improve with practice.
So if you want to put a smile on your face my recommendation is: watch a baby Galah for a while.