Galahs are starting to show off and perform for their partners all over Australia, as they get ready for the breeding season. Whether they are hanging out upside-down or playing soccer with pebbles on the ground, you will see plenty of playful activities at the moment.
“While often associated with noisy flocks, the galah will be spending more time in pairs playing the goofy, loved-up parent around this time of year,” said Susanna Bradshaw, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. “Towards the end of winter galahs begin renovations and interior decorating of their nest hollows for the arrival of their eggs.
“Because many galahs live in dry, arid parts of Australia, they spend much of the day sheltering in the shade of big trees. This might be where they developed their highly social, almost human, personalities as they entertain each other during the long, hot hours.”
“Similar to humans, this pretty-in-pink parrot will often mate for life and both parents will take turns raising their babies. When the kids grow up they also have the same habit of occasionally sticking around the family home too long, resulting in some cunning parenting tactics to encourage them into the big, wide world.”
There are plenty of creative options for living more harmoniously with galahs
Leave big, old trees in your garden (as long as they don’t pose a safety risk) so that galahs have somewhere to nest and socialise. By giving galahs areas of your garden where they are allowed to feed or chew wood, they should leave other places alone.
If you love having these characters in your garden, it’s worthwhile installing a bird bath as galahs never stray too far from water and love playing in it.
Great galah gossip
The galah can breed with other cockatoos such as the sulphur-crested, the corella and the Major Mitchell’s. There are even reports of the galah and the little cockatiel producing offspring. See if you can spot these rare, unusual looking birds in a flock.
In the wild galahs usually live 25-30 years; however as pets they can live for up to 80 years.
While not a migratory species, galahs can travel large distances (over 50km) in search of food, often returning to the same roost sites each night. Galahs are strong, fast flyers and can reach speeds exceeding 70 km/hr.
The male and female galahs look almost identical except for their eyes. The females have red eyes and the males have brown or black eyes. Now that you know this tip you will be spotting them left, right and centre.
For more information
Consult the Atlas of Living Australia for bird species in our area
Backyard Buddies is a free program run by Australia’s Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. Each month you get a Backyard Buddies email (B-mail) with tips to make your backyard inviting and safe for native animals. Galahs featured in August B-mail. Sign up for B-mail and download a free factsheet about Galahs at www.backyardbuddies.net.au/.
Image credit: David Cook