Updated Fri 07 Oct 2022
The sulphur-crested cockatoo is an attractive curious bird that is seen everywhere around the Whitsunday Islands. An opportunist feeder, these cheeky birds will take food from your hand. A common sight on Hamilton Island, where a large resident population seeks food and handouts from the tourists. Beware these birds have a beak that is powerful enough to inflict a very nasty bite. One of their favourite foods is the local coconuts that grow prolifically around the Whitsunday islands. Normally coconuts are only accessible by cutting with a sharp machete, these birds use their powerful beaks to carve away at the very tough husk of the coconut until the juice and soft coconut meat is exposed. So be careful and avoid feeding these cute birds. They have more than enough food available locally. Bird watchers and conservationists believe the bird's diet will not benefit from eating leftover-processed foods.
The very powerful beaks of the Cockatoos has also made them a nuisance to beachside property owners and also to boats. When the birds are not feeding, all flying for the enjoyment they perch on to very high places like masts or timber beams and rafters. Here they keep themselves busy by gnawing away at anything that is soft and chewy. Things like mast top cables and instruments, and the nice soft timbers of pergolas or windows. They are responsible for a lot of damage and are not always popular with householders.
If you arrive in the Whitsundays via the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island it's nice to book yourself a room at the Reef View Hotel. Awesome views of the islands and they are famous for their 19 story Glass lift. The birds land on the balconies and can be seen soaring effortlessly around the treetops. Also, have morning tea from the Bakery at the Marina and the birds will join you for breakfast.