Hello Birdy! Series starting on ABC Saturday Feb 1 at 6:30pm
HELLO BIRDY is the ‘Boofhead's Guide To Birdwatching’, according to its star, the inimitable Australian actor William McInnes. In this six part series, William gets up close and personal with some of Australia's diverse birdlife like never before. Have you ever seen a birdwatcher in a malleefowl suit or a giant yellow codpiece? Or someone using the mythical rubber red-bellied black snake to scare off a brush turkey? Have you ever wondered what to say to a horny male emu while brandishing an artificial cloaca (bird’s reproductive organ)? No, well, William doesn’t have much idea either, and the results are hilarious!
In the first episode it’s all about parrots as William meets Mr Squiggle and the other Facebook cockatoos of Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens and while scaling a tree he is treated to an eyeful of a cockie taking its first ever flight. In Darwin he conducts a CSI style investigation into the mystery of the drunken Red-collared Lorikeets. Then it’s across the mighty Bass Strait to monitor one of the rarest of all birds, the Orange-bellied Parrot and his final destination is Strathalbyn in South Australia where he helps use the fastest animal in the world to rid a plague of blue eye-shadow wearing corellas.
Next it’s ancient birds. William makes a holy pilgrimage to Western Australia in episode two to meet a malleefowl named Jesus to work out whether he has a girlfriend or not. He travels to Brisbane to move on a bothersome brush turkey using a range of unorthodox measures including chili flakes, a mythical rubber snake and a Russian LP. In the rainforests of Northern Queensland William is on a mission to collect cassowary poo to help save the creature from extinction. At a research facility in Perth, William coughs sweet sensual nothings into a female emu’s ear then moves on to a not so romantic encounter with a male emu.
In episode three it’s all about songbirds. William spends the day trekking through Lamington National Park to find – and record - the best of our warbling wonders. He dons his best Aussie Post outfit in Brisbane and throws his leg over a bike to try and work out what makes magpies swoop. West of Charters Towers William observes the courtship ritual of the Great Bowerbird and discovers this bird is not much of a songster, but likes to cut a rug to woo its lover. In Sherbrooke Forest William helps to decipher the song of the Superb Lyrebird and survives a close encounter with a leech that latches on to his lip!
William gets up close and personal with raptors in episode four, handling owls, kestrels, Peregrine Falcons and Wedge-tailed Eagles to help climb the medieval social scene. Next he travels to the MCG in Melbourne where they use an eagle to throw the wind up pesky gulls. At Healesville William meets Bernice the Black- breasted Buzzard who’s the masterchef of the avian world and she impresses him with her culinary feats. Then he scales 35 floors on Melbourne’s iconic Collins Street to check out some Peregrine Falcon chicks. In the hill suburbs of Perth William sees how cockatoo rehabilitators are using a Black Kite to masquerade as a Wedge-tailed Eagle to scare rehabbed cockatoos to help them survive in the wild.
In episode five William examines our relationship with pest birds and ships off to a deadly island full of Tiger snakes to see how the local gulls are faring. Next stop is Canberra where a citizen army has turned a major myna problem into a minor myna problem. At Brisbane Airport William runs the gauntlet of the busy tarmac to help scare pesky ibis away, only to be shown up by a kelpie named Molly. His final stop is at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney where he comes face to face with a variety of pigeons that look like they have be thrown together in some sort of macabre DNA laboratory.
The final episode of Hello Birdy sees William racking up the frequent flyer miles as he follows the mighty travelling birds and squeezes into a tiny plane with a man called ‘Dr Duck’ to count water birds from up high. Next, he hits the windswept islands of Bass Strait where the self-confessed ‘thirteen stone wuss’ bravely delves his hand down a burrow to capture a sharp-beaked shearwater. His travels finish with a bang as he joins a military-style operation using cannons to fire nets to capture and band delicate wading birds in Broome.
Join William McInnes saying HELLO BIRDY - you'll never feel quite the same about Australian birds once you do.
The DVD of "Hello Birdy" will be available in stores on the 12th March.