TOPICS: Gala life for Ralph

THINGS are looking up for Ralph the Balding Galah.

The resident bird of Scenic Lodge aged-care centre at Merewether Heights has a new cage. It’s roomier, with little wheels that mean it can be rolled into the garden.

And his feathers are back.

Not all of them. That will take a while. He’s sort of at that transition stage Ricky Ponting was at a few years ago with his hair plugs.

‘‘He’s definitely improving, though he’s got a long way to go,’’ Charlestown Liberal MP and Ralph’s personal vet Andrew Cornwell said.

‘‘Those downy feathers are coming back, but the flight ones are going to take some time.’’

The Pet Shop Boyz at Mayfield West chipped in with the new cage. Store owner Danny Boskovski said Ralph should enjoy having natural branches on which to perch and an array of dangling toys.

‘‘It’s a good set-up,’’ Mr Cornwell agreed. ‘‘They’ve got him outside in his natural habitat with some adult toys.’’

As in, toys suitable for an adult bird, a minder quickly clarified.

The good news for any lady galahs reading this page on the bottom of their cage is that Ralph’s still single. They’re still looking for a mate for him.

One of the Scenic Lodge staff asked whether a prospective partner would have to be female.

Mr Cornwell gave it some thought.

‘‘I’m not sure what our position is on bird gay marriage,’’ he admitted, heading off potentially terse calls from party elders

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