A kookaburra in the United States has unsettled many after an Australian woman spotted the bird for sale in a pet shop.

Wendy Davidson was “shocked” when she first saw the caged, four-year-old kookaburra at her local pet shop in Virginia. 

“This is not where he needs to be,” she told Nine‘s TODAY“That’s when I took action and started contacting local and Australian authorities.” 

The kookaburra, named Thunder, was being sold for USD $1119.99 which is about AUD $1700.

Under Australian law,  live native birds can’t be exported from Australia. However, according to Davidson, Thunder  was legally bred in the States so the pet shop is “not acting outside the law”.

“He’s on his own,” Davidson said. “He’s only known solitude and that’s what made me feel really quite sad for him and I think that’s what the Australian public are feeling as well.” 

She added, “I am just literally a concerned Australian who saw a bird which shouldn’t be so far from home.”

After returning to the pet shop to check on Thunder, Davidson learned he had lived there for four years – “since he was a chick.”

She said the store had “sourced him locally in Florida.” 

A spokesperson for Symbio Wildlife Park, in the NSW, told the ABC that kookaburras were a common bird bred in the US. The spokesperson suggested Thunder could even be a “10th-generation captive-bred bird whose ancestors were exported to the US many years ago before the laws were tightened.” 

Although it is unsettling seeing one of our iconic Aussie animals in a pet shop, there is no real difference in this than the thousands of people in Australia who have native parrots and/or cockatoos in their home aviaries.

Being bred in the US means Thunder can’t be brought to Australia.

“We’ve worked out the best thing for him is to be relocated to a sanctuary where they can actually meet his needs a lot better than in a tiny little cage in a pet store.” 

Source: 9Now
Image: Wendy Davidson