Mobs of Flying Hooligans

My ornamental Chinese Pistachio draws mobs of raiding, flying hooligans. Sulphur Crested Cockatoos arrive each autumn and I have had as many as 50 perched in the tree. While I love these gregarious beauties they are destructive villains. They come screeching in and systematically prune the tree of all its berries, leaving a great mess to be cleaned up. When I do screech at them, urging them to hop on their bikes and go elsewhere they fly off screaming expletives at me. I know they are telling me “we will be back as soon as you go inside you silly old fool”.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are absolute characters to watch. They will hang upside down and drink from the gutters, playing games, daring each other to do the next funny thing. They really have a sense of entertainment! When I am not annoyed by their destructiveness I concede that they bring us so much joy to watch.

The cockatoo is a member of the parrot family. They hang out in large ‘gangs’ or family groups, and communicate using bobs of the head, squawks, and the movement of that wonderful sulphur crest. Not all cockies have this crest though – the large black and red cockatoos we also have a crestless, although they still communicate using very obvious body language. It is a very funny dance that they do! They are affectionate birds, and mate for life.

In captivity, the cockatoo can be taught to mimic so very many sounds. They are intelligent and inquisitive. Taking the lids off jars is easy! They bond strongly with their owner and can live for many years.

The cockatoo is a symbol of change, and light and the end of a tunnel. Communication is a gift of the cockatoo – making oneself understood, understanding the communication of others, and being heard. You should hear the loud cry of the cockie! It is unbelievable!

Joy, friendship, community, communication, and the ability to survive the harshest conditions is the medicine of the cockatoo.