This heartbreaking photo of a weakened cockatoo huddling on the ground has gone viral after Townsville Bulletin photographer, Alix Sweeney shared it with the world.
“The owner of the motel we’re staying in said there was a cockatoo at the end of the road,” Sweeney said. “I spotted something white among all the greenery. You couldn’t miss it.
As the eye of Tropical Cyclone Debbie passed over Airlie Beach in Queensland, Australia, it ripped up trees, toppled buildings and tossed debris like confetti.
Tourists and residents were urged to stay inside and "bunker down" while the storm was at it's peak. Sadly, the wildlife didn't have that kind of luxury.
During a lull in the storm, Sweeney decided to step outside to snap the destructive path of Debbie outside of the motel where she was staying. The owner mentioned that a cockatoo was spotted at the end of the road, so she went out to investigate.
Sweeney snapped the photo of the terrified bird, whose feathers had practically been ripped off by the wind. Then she collected the exhausted animal and brought him back to her motel.
“I went back and got a towel from the hotel and picked it up. I’m trying to get a hold of wildlife carers in the area but the winds picked up again and I can’t get through to them," she told news.com.au, "I doubt they could get here either. But at the moment, it’s safe from the cyclone.”
After news of the battered and broken cockatoo went viral, hundreds of messages of support poured in for Sweeney's efforts.
Hopefully he recovers well and the other animals of the island survive Debbie's destruction!