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|OTHER COCKATOO ARTICLES|
» Piggy Back Cockatoo
|OTHER WILD BIRD STORIES
(Go Back to Wild Bird Page Contents)
|» No Barbeque this Summer|
|» Just How Does a Bird Eat Bees?|
|» My Birdwatching Adventures in Costa Rica|
|» Four Calling Birds???|
|» A Very Unique Cardinal|
|» The Last Companion Carolina Paroquet|
|» Convergent Evolution: Meadowlark and Longclaw|
|» Barrel Cactus Confrontation|
|» Galahs Playing Around and Around and Around ...|
|» Mesmerizing a Goldfinch|
|» The Best Mimic?|
|» Mob Mentality: Who is Really in Control of the Skies?|
|» The Owl Who Sat Down Beside Me|
|» Meeting Hot Shot: The Toddler Peregrine Falcon|
|» Raven Showoffs|
|» Reddish Egrets a nd Canopy Feeding|
|» Hospital Hallucinations|
|» Wild Bird "Attacks": Just Misunderstandings?|
|» Drunken Waxwings and an Unusual Hummingbird Feeder|
|» Acorn Woodpecker Defending its Stash|
|» Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches: Built in Shock Absorber|
| GALAHS PLAYING
AROUND AND AROUND
By Lynne Page
“Galahs Play in a Willy-willy in the Northern Territory”
A Swinging Cockatoo
My bare-eyed cockatoo, Marshmallow, likes to hang by her feet from my hand while I swing her in a big arc. Occasionally a human spectator will question whether Marshmallow could really enjoy such treatment. Now I have a great response for these skeptics.
This short article and an early one to which it refers report a fascinating “play behavior” of some wild rose-breasted cockatoos (known as Galahs in their native Australia).
Flocks have been observed entering vortices (what I would call whirlwinds or dust devils and what Aussies apparently call willy-willies.) The birds spiral acrobatically, calling loudly, leave the vortex, and then catch up with it to take another spin. In this particular instance, the birds took their E-ticket ride in five or six short bursts spanning a total of 30 to 40 seconds. The flock “flew leisurely back to a group of Ironwood” to settle in the trees as the willy-willy continued out of sight.
The author speculates that this behavior is “cultural” and may not be practiced by all Galahs. He notes that he has seen thousands of vortices and only once seen this parrot play.
Based on his observations of Little Corellas (bare-eyed cockatoos), he suggests that species “is likely to behave in this way.” He has frequently seen both Galahs and little Corellas engaging in the “more common form of apparent play behavior” of “hanging onto the blades of a windmill and spinning round and round with the revolving fan … (T)he corellas appear to be more enthusiastic … in their endeavors to hang on precariously and fall off noisily before regaining their position, often at the expense of another.”
Compared to this, a few swings from my hand seem pretty tame.