Sally Blanchard's Book Sales, Tongue-in-Beak Clayworks, Color Pencil Drawings, Parrot and Bird Collectibles
Please sign the Guestbook and let me know what you think of the website and what information you find valuable!
If you want to receive the FREE Companion Parrot Online NEWSLETTER
- Please send me your name, state, and e-mail. Questions?
It takes time and money to maintain this website and new information is added on a daily basis.
Please help me to keep Companion Parrot Online going and growing.
Thank You Gift
|$15.00||$20.00||$25.00||... or purchase a publication, art work or collectible from the website. Thank you!|
| As most readers know, I love hearing stories about parrots and I love to tell them! I will add more stories to this section of the website. If you have a great parrot story, I would love to read it!
|PIGGY BACK COCKATOO
I was called to do a consultation with a woman who had decided to "double her pleasure, double her fun" with two cockatoo babies, a Moluccan and an Umbrella who were about the same age. She had called to get the best information about raising her birds properly so she wouldn't have "double trouble" too. Both bappies were full of energy and had already started to take over the household. During the consultation, the interaction between the two 'toos was the most fun to watch. At one point, the Moluccan was stubbornly hogging the the food dish on their playgym. The Umbrella wanted something to eat too but despite all of his efforts, the bigger bird would not budge. Finally, the clever Umbrella solved the problem by simply climbing on the Moluccan's back who just let the Umbrella hang off of his shoulder to get a snack. For a moment the combination looked like a rare hybrid mutation: a two-headed cockatoo.
|WHITE AND FLUFFY LAUNDRY
by Karyn Amaral
|AN ADROIT GAUCHE 'TOO
By Sally Blanchard
Many companion parrot lovers have observed that their birds consistently use the same foot to pick up and hold their food or toys. It appears that most of them use their left foot. Last fall, an article in National Wildlife magazine by Doug Stewart mentioned the left-footedness of the glossy black cockatoo. According to the article, “About 90 percent of humans are right-handed, and until recently, scientists thought our species alone had such a pronounced preference for one side over the other. But recent studies have turned up evidence of “handedness” in some other species. And now University of Michigan biologist John W. Pepper reports that a species of cockatoo, a kind of parrot, appears to be 100-percent left-footed.”
The article continues, “Pepper studies an endangered population of glossy black cockatoos on Australia’s Kangaroo Island. The birds perch in casuarina trees, where they spend most of their waking hours feeding on small seed cones.” Pepper stales, “They always hold the seed cone with the left foot while standing on their right foot and ripping the cone apart with their bill.” The article states that Pepper’s research team observed 27 cockatoos devour 1,382 seed cones over several months. Only once did a bird handle a cone with its right foot. “That particular bird was young,” Pepper says. “She may just have been goofy.”
Mr. Stewart reports that “biologists have speculated that the human preference for one side or the other is linked to our brain’s specialization for either speech or fine motor ability, if not both. And wouldn’t you know it: Cockatoos are skillful vocal mimics, and they are remarkably adroit, so to speak, with those big left feet.”
While the Glossy Cockatoo is rare in captivity, we could have told the scientists all about our parrots being left-footed if they had just asked us.
|PRE-WORK COCKATOO GAME
Most cockatoos don't like to be left and it is not uncommon for them to balk at going back into their cages when their caregivers are leaving for work. Some carry the game to extremes by hanging off of the back of their cages against the wall. Of course, the more frustrated the person becomes the more intensely the cockatoo plays the game. One woman reported to me that the moment she was ready to leave for work and her 'too knew he had to go back into his cage, he jumped off of his stand and ran into the bedroom to hide under the bed. She had to get down on her hands and knees and reach under the bed to retrieve him and of course he was difficult to catch. The more upset she became the more fun he had. Finally she would drag him out from under the bed and he would laugh hysterically. Of course, the best way for her to stop the game was to put him back in his cage while she was getting ready ... perhaps at a different stage of readiness each morning.
By Katy McElroy
(Illustration by Jeff Riebe)
My friend Sam, a Moluccan cockatoo, is
definitely not a creature of the great outdoors. He loves sunning himself in a
hornbeam tree near the front porch, exchanging loud, cheerful insults with the
cockatoos in the outdoor flights. But let there be a few drops of rain, a gust
of wind or a cloud of gnats, (Sam hates bugs) and he’s ready to come inside.
Right now! If I can’t rescue him soon enough, he climbs down out of the tree,
up the porch steps, over the sleeping dogs and begins chewing on the screen
DAD’S HAD ENOUGH!
At this point, Roscoe has had enough and refuses the grownup babies begging for food with a shove in the chest. His actions confirm our decisions on hand-feeding – it is time that this chick is eating on his own.
COCKATOO, SQUIRREL, OR SQUIRRELY COCKATOO?!
By Sharon Keagle
by Sally Blanchard
DESTROYER OF TEDDY BEARS
By Nancy Boudreau
perpetually short of cash, I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive
entertainment for my birds. Garage sales and yard sales sometimes yield a
treasure or two and this weekend I discovered something that my pets really
love in a disturbing way: teddy bears
What Would She Do With a Tube of Toothpaste?
Molly, a large Moluccan Cockatoo who lives with Gail Goldman, has a strange way of eating her pellets, veggies, fruit and other soft foods. She stuffs and jams as much of them as possible into her rubber Kong toy. Then, carefully holding onto the toy, she hobbles up to the perch on the top of her cage. Once there, she holds her cornucopia up to her beak and eats her meal by power squeezing portions out of the toy a little at a time.
Jeremy, a lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo owned by Gordon King has an unusual and entertaining habit. She grabs a beak full of pellets and climbs up to the top of her playgym. Then one by one, she precariously balances each piece on her shoulder next to the top of her wing. She is very deliberate about their position and may change them from place to place before she seems satisfied. Jeremy also tucks the pellets inside her wing and holds them there. Then she may decide to transfer them to the other wing, losing several in the process. Jeremy also balances several items including other food, sticks, and toys that seem too heavy to stay on her shoulder. Sometimes she will climb laboriously to the top of her playgym with all of her ‘loot’ and then drop it all only to climb down; collect more ‘stuff’ and climb back up to repeat the process. Jeremy can occupy herself for hours with this activity.
|DAISY AND THE ACORN WOODPECKER
Sometimes I feel like a nut ... maybe an Acorn?
Acorn woodpeckers are famous for the fact that they drill holes in trees to store the acorns. They are a fairly common bird in California oak forests. Sometimes a birdwatcher can find many trees with thousands of acorns placed there by these woodpeckers. They will also store their acorns in telephone poles, wooden buildings, fence posts and even automobile radiators. Their granaries are quite visible and several other birds, including the local jays rob the acorns.
About a decade ago, I visited Chris Shank near Grass Valley, California. She had a trained multiple species flock of free-flying cockatoos. She taught the majority of the 'toos to accept her as "flock-leader" and to stay within the territory of her large yard. In the late afternoon she would round them all up to get them in their aviaries for the night. Daisy was a Triton cockatoo that didn't always follow all of the rules. One of her favorite past times was to rob acorns from the local acorn woodpecker's stash. The 85 gram, 9 inch woodpecker was no match for the Triton cockatoo. They can weigh in at close to 700 grams and can be 18 inches from tail to beak. As much as the 'too was attacked by the woodpecker trying to save its stash, Daisy just kept eating acorns.