The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …’

-Isaac Asimov

A few years ago, in my own back yard, I saw was a bird that looked a bit like a Galah and a bit like a Little Corella, but not a lot like either. As I tried to make sense of what I was seeing, I saw another one.

That’s funny …, I thought. What are they?

I watched them until they flew away. Then I rushed inside and dragged my favourite bird book out of my bookshelf. I dragged out more bird books. And I searched the Internet.

I learned that some white cockatoos interbreed.

How can that be? I wondered. A species is not supposed to breed with another species.

But I had seen the parrots with my own eyes. And as you can see above, I even had the chance to photograph one when they returned the next day. They were real and, to me, almost magical because they were not supposed to even exist.

Looking at them reminded me that even though we think we have living things classified, Mother Nature can still spring surprises on us.

Australian parrots



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