A rare bird

When Les Banks (pictured) wanders into his backyard each morning, he is always greeted with a cheery “Hello, how are you?”

The greeting is not from a friendly neighbour but one of his beloved parrots.

Les, who receives home services from YellowBridge QLD, has been breeding birds for 60 years and cannot imagine life without them.

“I love them all. They each have their own personality. Some can be a bit cheeky,” he said.

“Some of them can sing the tune for Once a Jolly Swagman and a few love to call out ‘Here come the cops’ when you walk past.”

At the moment, he and his wife Linda look after about 1000 birds, housed in purpose-built avaries on their 2 acre block on the western outskirts of Toowoomba.

They moved there 35 years ago and have transformed it to include a comfortable family home, verdant gardens with an impressive ornament and cacti collection, and 200 bird avaries.

“There wasn’t a tree in sight when we moved here 35 years ago. It’s been a work in progress over the years.”

They hand raise most of the birds which include gang gang cockatoo, black cockatoo, white galah, macaws, eclectus parrot and many more.

If they had to choose a favourite, it would be the African grey parrot which is fun, animated and loves to talk.

Looking after 1000 birds is no easy task. It takes Les and Linda three hours every morning to complete the day’s feeding.

The birds eat freshly chopped fruit and vegetables with sprouted seed that Les and Linda grow themselves.

It is a lot of work but the rewards are immense. “I love animals and it is a great hobby,” Les said.

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