Oi! Crazy Cockatoos Chew Through Precious Billion-Dollar Broadband Cabling In Australia

For Australians, access to truly high-speed broadband isn't exactly easy to find. We Americans might complain about broadband monopolies and slow internet speeds (especially in rural areas), but the United States still ranks 11th in the world with average download speeds of 74.68 Mbps. Australia, on the other hand, ranks in 55th place at 25.18 Mbps according to Speedtest.

So, you would think that Australia would be doing everything in its power to expand its national telecommunications infrastructure. Well, the country is definitely trying, but mother nature is threatening to thwart its plans. In fact, one particular type of bird is chewing through cables, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage in the process.

cockatoo rose breasted

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is blaming cockatoos, a type of parrot, for causing the destruction. The birds have a knack for chewing through the cables that sprawl across the country. The cockatoos have destroyed both fiber and power cables to the tune of $61,000.

We know what you're probably thinking -- why in the world would cockatoos take a liking to fiber cabling? After all, the birds have a diet that mainly consists of fruits, nuts and tree bark. But animal experts explain that the cables help cockatoos keep their beaks trimmed and sharp (or else it will continue grow larger).

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Damaged cabling (Image Source: NBN)

The birds seem to show no remorse, and have gone so far as to not only attack active cables, but also spare cables (that would be used in future installations) that they have found. According to NBN, it has discovered at least eight towers in which cables have been damaged beyond repair by the ruthless cockatoos.

Going forward, the NBN is looking to use a $10 canister that would protect cable-ends and hopefully keep the cockatoos from continue to wreak havoc on the nation’s internet infrastructure.

“You wouldn’t think it was possible, but these birds are unstoppable when in a swarm," said Build Project Manager Chedryian Bresland. "I guess that’s Australia for you; if the spiders and snakes don’t get you, the cockies will.”