The man best loved for playing the maverick Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce in the hit TV series M*A*S*H has mimicked a cockatoo during a visit to Australia’s bush capital.

Alan Alda was in Canberra on Tuesday to launch a new centre focused on increasing public understanding about science.

It’s a partnership between the Australia National University and the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science based at Stony Brook University’s journalism school in the United States.

Alda’s speech at the launch ceremony was interrupted by a squawking cockatoo.

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“Where is that thing?” he said. “Does he have his own microphone?”

Later, while trying to explain why it’s important that scientists drop the jargon and speak in plain English, Alda squawked back at a group of birds trying to drown him out.

Improving scientific literacy of the public and policy makers is one of Alda’s greatest passions.

He hosted the documentary series Scientific American Frontiers for 12 years on US television.

AAP

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