Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Invasion of the Cockatoos [updtd]

So we're sitting on the veranda after a fine dinner from Christine of lamb chops and mashed pataters and salad with blue brie cheese from Tasmania and walnuts when sulphur-crested cockatoos, one at a time, began landing on the tall, gangly antenna two buildings over. Christine snapped a picture (as always, click pix to enlarge):

More and more of them landed. And they stared at us. They just stared.

I said, "Maybe they smelled the lamb chops." Just joking, you know: Cockatoos eat seeds, berries, nuts, some insects - that sort of thing.

But maybe it was true.

Christine went and got some bread, came back out to the veranda, held a piece up, and, like it was the signal they'd been waiting for, the cockatoos instantly jumped from the antenna, disappeared for a second behind the roofline you can see in that first shot, swooped back over it—and came flying all big-winged right to us and the railing of our veranda. Ho-lee shee-ite. What follows is cockatoo madness.

Profanity Warning: This video starts with "Holy crap!"

Wow. These are really large birds. The size of big cats. And so dang pretty! And with some of them literally a few feet from our noses, we were able to get some really good shots.

I hoped to get the tongue of this guy: They have very thick strong tongues that they can use to pick  up tine things like seeds  that those huge, stocky beaks can not. Alas, I missed it.

Show us a little leg, baby:

More video—because you never have too many cockatoos and Christine. First a short one showing cockatoo shoulders, climbing, and feather-fluffing.

A longer one, with various kinds of cockatooing.

And here I experiment with getting bit by a cockatoo, which the birds were happy to go along with. (The funny thing is, on the first bite, the actual bite is not in the video. You see me offer my finger to the cockatoo, he reaches out to bite me, then there's a flick, and then I say Ow. The bite is gone. We have no idea how that happened, but thrust me - it bit. And the next time I got bit it drew blood. Just a little, but still.)

One more for the road:

So long, cockies, see you next time!

Update: Next time came a few minutes after posting. Luckily just one bird this time. Quite a mellow guy or gal.

He got a few sunflower seeds. We don't want to encourage them too much. He's been hanging out for 45 minutes or so.

Christine went to the store. And our new friend knocked on the window.

One more video of the lone cocky. This one has a really good, full on display of the crest. (This cockatoo will henceforth be known as "Three-toes," as she seems to be missing one toe, which I noticed on one of the birds last night.)


  1. Holy Crap is right! OMG that is funny. Thom, my laughter on viewing the first video was almost identical to yours in pitch and length. Just wonderful. They sound like they have the potential to get really, really loud. I used to have parrots, but my God the noise! Never again. I love in the last video how that one just does the full crest flare thing. Very, very cool. Many thanks for posting!

  2. Oh god, they are so loud it's unbleivable. And godawful screechy loud.

    One landed on the veranda just after I posted.

    He keeps jumping down where I can't see him, and coming over to the door, where he peeks in to see if I'm here. Then he flutters back up to the railing. Still there now.

  3. I love cockatoos so much. I'd love to have one. Yours are simply gorgeous.