Cheeky cockatoos play tug of war with visitors' iPhones at Bird Paradise

Among other shenanigans.

Julia Yee | May 26, 2023, 08:36 PM

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Earlier this month, the new Bird Paradise opened its doors to the public.

The successor of Jurong Bird Park offers visitors a chance to wander alongside free-roaming birds in environments akin to their natural habitat.

A couple of mischievous residents decided to take full advantage of their freedom.

iPhone thieves

In a TikTok video uploaded by @potatooong, one man found himself embroiled in a battle to save his iPhone from the clutches of a cockatoo.

While he was snapping pictures of the cockatoos, a mischievous one perched on the railing decided to bite onto his phone and refused to let go.

Gif from @potatooong on TikTok.

In the tug-of-war that ensued, the man's gentle tugging was no match for the cockatoo's grip.

Image from @potatooong on TikTok.

It also displayed some impressive neck turning range.

Gif from @potatooong on TikTok.

Comment on video.

This wasn't the sole instance of attempted phone-napping at Bird Paradise.

A TikTok video uploaded by @kipsicles showed a different visitor trying to retrieve her iPhone from another cockatoo, whose beak ended up cracking the screen.

Gif from @kipsicles on TikTok.

Shoe biters and pram inspectors

The cockatoos, clearly comfortable at their new home, seem to take a liking to a variety of objects.

One was filmed messing with a woman's shoes.

Gif from @maybekelvin on TikTok.

A couple busied themselves checking out strollers.

Gif from @kmuffins on TikTok.

Gif from @the_chowchowm on TikTok.

Sign builders and wire chewers

More cockatoos were spotted tackling higher targets, picking apart wires and signs.

Gif from @maybekelvin on TikTok.

Gif from @maybekelvin on TikTok.

In their nature

Speaking to Mothership, Vice President of Animal Care at Mandai Wildlife Group, Luis Neves, said cockatoos, as a parrot species, are "extremely intelligent" with "an inquisitive and curious nature".

Investigating, chewing and dismantling their objects of interest are natural and instinctive behaviours for birds of the parrot family.

Neves remarked that the cockatoos were adapting well to their new environment. 

"In the wild, the species are often found foraging and chewing through hard nutshells to get the healthiest morsels they need for survival. They also chew on bark, leaves, and wood, both for food, entertainment, and to get specific nutrients."

He emphasised that no bird had been injured from their curious quests and that the animal care team has been keeping an eye on them.

"The keepers are working on a mix of positive reinforcement training and enrichment to keep them away from the features while allowing them to be engaged and entertained. We are also exploring ways to bird-proof some of the fittings that the parrots may find more interesting."

Maintain a safe distance & keepers are around to help

While the bird park allows nature lovers a rare chance to get up close and personal with the adorable birds, Neves urged guests to maintain a safe distance from the feathered residents.

"Refrain from reaching out your hand to the bird or trying to pick up the bird and touch them. If a bird lands on you, do not panic. Just walk it off and eventually, they will go away. Otherwise, do call out to our keepers and they will help you."

Birds are also likely to be attracted to shiny objects like jewellery and items with reflective surfaces like keys, coins, and — ahem — the sides of iPhone Pros.

"So, where possible, avoid leaving such items exposed or unattended in areas where birds may access them," Neves advised.

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Top images from @potatooong and @kipsicles on TikTok