Russell Crowe says 40 black cockatoos visited him after his dad died: 'I don't know what the afterlife contains'

Russell Crowe says 40 black cockatoos visited him after his dad died: 'I don't know what the afterlife contains'

“My dad always told my mum that he would come and visit her as a bird,” he said.

Russell Crowe isn’t sure if he believes in an afterlife — but some birds certainly made him think about it.

When asked by British GQ what he thinks happens after death, the L.A. Confidential star admitted he doesn't know.

“Of course, there’s always going to be what your preference would be," Crowe said. "This is always tricky territory, because it’s so easy for people to decry this.”

<p>Pool Insabato Rovaris/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty</p> Russell Crowe

Pool Insabato Rovaris/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty

Russell Crowe

The New Zealand–born actor then detailed a bizarre experience he had after his father died in 2021.

“My dad always told my mum that he would come and visit her as a bird,” he explained. “So, it was a couple of days after my dad had passed away. On the farm, I tend to get up early. I like to be up in the darkness. So I was sitting in my office as the sun was coming up, and something along the lines of about 45 or 47 — I lost count of them; they kept moving around — black cockatoos landed in the trees outside my office door.”

This might not seem unusual to cockatoo novices, but Crowe insists that cockatoos never exhibit this kind of behavior.

“I was stunned – I’d never seen that many black cockatoos together. They’re the kind of birds you see separately, or in twos and threes,” he said. “So I opened the door and I was just watching them, or they were watching me. And I looked down. I realized that at the front of the door to my office was a liquidambar seed pod.”

Related: Russell Crowe says actors shouldn't expect too much from superhero movies: 'These are jobs'

The writer, Hayley Campbell, then asked if cockatoos are known to give gifts to humans, as other bird species sometimes do.

“Crows are known for that,” he said. “I’ve never heard of this [with cockatoos]. Black cockatoos are supposed to be a bridge between here and what’s next — they come around to acknowledge when people have passed, you know? That’s a folkloric thing. That’s the Aboriginal thing. And I had a direct experience where that happened. Forty black cockatoos rocked up to say, ‘We know your old man passed.’ I can’t explain it.”

Crowe shared a brief video of the cockatoo community on social media in 2021.

“I don’t know how to explain this,” he wrote. “I’ve lived in this valley 25 years. Very simply I have never experienced Black Cockatoos in these numbers. You see them at a distance. Most usually in pairs. Occasionally more. But this past month, daily visits, more each day. A crackle of Cockatoo.”

Crowe thinks this feather-raising encounter nicely exemplifies his ignorance toward the spiritual world.

“So, you know, I don’t know what the afterlife contains,” he told Campbell. “Pretty damn sure it’s none of the descriptions we’re currently offered."

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<p>Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty</p> Russell Crowe

Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty

Russell Crowe

Strangely, this isn’t the only inexplicable avian anecdote that Crowe has shared. In 2023, the actor said that while he was filming The Pope’s Exorcist, he had unfortunate run-in with the remains of another bird.

“I arrived home once and there was a dead bird in the center of the doorway of the house I was staying in and birds are quite symbolic within the movie,” he told Unilad. “But I rationalized that a different way in my head — that there must be some creature in the woods around where I was living that had realized I had gone away for a few days and was leaving me a welcome home gift.”

Related: Russell Crowe has got a sweet tooth for his chocolate Gladiator statue: 'Available to eat'

Crowe has also tweeted about birds dozens of times, sharing videos, photos, and anecdotes about his feathered friends. “Worked with a Brazilian Starling yesterday, named him Billy Budd, his whole head was red,” he wrote in 2012. "Such a special little bird. Fell asleep in my hand.”

Crowe next appears in The Exorcism, releasing in theaters on Friday, June 21, 2024.

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