Have you heard about the war on drugs? No, not that one… the other one where junkie birds are battling farmers for their next fix! It’s all going down in India where the legalized farming of opium is big business. It seems that wild parrots have taken a shine to the poppies, which has led to a bit of a drug problem.
Hungry for their next fix, the parrots hide in the trees, waiting for workers to slit open the poppy pods. This not only helps them ripen faster, but makes it a lot easier for a parrot to get at their insides. Then, the parrots quietly fly down and break the pots off the plants before the farmers can stop them. They fly back up to the tree tops and have themselves a hell of a party.
It’s not uncommon for the birds to fall asleep for several hours after their drug binge. The only problem that presents is that gravity doesn’t stop while you’re passed out and many of the parrots have been falling to their deaths.
So, how big a problem is this? Some farmers throughout India are claiming that it is having a major effect on their crop yields and that parrots are eating upwards of 10% of their annual production. To evade the farmers, the birds have even adapted new behaviors:
“Usually, the parrots would make sound when in a group. But these birds have become so smart that they don’t make any noise when they swoop on the fields. The birds start chirping when they fly away with opium pods. We have tried every trick possible to keep the birds at bay but these addicts keep coming back even at the risk of their life.
The problem started around 2015 and has grown every season as more and more parrots get hooked on the plant that is used as the base ingredient in heroin. Farmers have tried everything from scare crows to firecrackers to scare the birds away, but the pull of their addiction is stronger than any deterrent that they’ve been able to come up with.