It’s an opioid epidemic of the feathered kind, as a flock of opium-addicted parrots dive-bombed poppy fields in Madhya Pradesh to feed and satiate their cravings. Per NDTV, opium cultivators of Neemuch district are up in arms about the whole situation, and they told news outlets that the avian nuisances often feed on the plants about 30 to 40 times daily. On top of that, they went on to say that the flock additionally absconds with whole poppy pods.
Neemuch district cultivators say they are losing big because of the infestation, and they went on to explain that the opium-addicted birds are adding to disastrous losses already incurred by insufficient rainfall. Efforts to contact authorities on the matter haven’t been successful either.
Nandkishore, an opium farmer from the area, said that even though he and his fellow farmers have put in many requests to authorities in the Neemuch district about the wayward creatures, their pleas haven’t been heard. The beleaguered farmer spoke out about the parrot junkies and the lack of action saying.
We are already suffering because of uneven rain, and now this. Nobody is listening to our problems. Who will compensate for our losses?
Nandkishore said that the parrots aren’t easily deterred from the opium poppies, and loud noises — such as those made with firecrackers and loudspeakers — don’t phase them. He said that the cultivators can only protect their fields by acting as round-the-clock guards.
To put their losses into perspective, a single poppy flower yields around 20 to 25 grams of the drug. According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, farmers can receive about $150 USD for one kilogram of dry opium. That’s a great deal of money when you consider the size of farming fields.
The parrots of Madhya Pradesh, according to Vice, aren’t the only species of bird known to get high and develop a drug habit. In one phenomenon known as “anting,” certain birds rub ants under their wings to get the insects to sting them. The ants then excrete formic acid as a form of defense; a natural pesticide if you will. The icky ant spray elicits a euphoric response in the birds, and they dance around with their beaks wide open.
Which species of bird does this, you may wonder? According to ornithologist Stefan Emanuel Baltagspecies, common starlings, hoopoes, ravens, crows, mockingbirds, and the chaffinch are prone to anting.
If the vision of birds cavorting around after being naturally “dosed” isn’t funny enough when you picture it in your mind, consider that birds also have another vice: alcohol. Back in October, The Inquisitr reported on some Minnesota townspeople that found themselves with an odd situation on their hands. The town was overrun with birds which got hammered on fermented berries, causing them to act bizarrely. Before they sobered up, the inebriated raptors made nuisances of themselves by flopping around in yards, flying erratically into vehicles, and generally not having a clue as to what was going on.