By Rosie Moore

On Christmas Eve I met a cockatoo. I really did. His name is Dusty even though he is a beautiful white bird. His lovely comb on the top of his head fluttered up and down constantly. He made a lot of noise, sometimes very loudly, and could speak a few words like, “hi” and “what’s your name?” The other raucous sounds were not discernible. He is twenty-one years old. He could live to the age of sixty. The lady of the house said she can’t hold him any more because he has bitten her a few time. She said it was very painful, like getting a finger caught in a car door. The man of the house is the only one who can hold him. I asked if he could have a mate and they said no, he would immediately kill it. Male cockatoos are very abusive. The female and male have to live in separate cages. Once in a while the male will treat his lady nice and that’s how little cockatoos are made.

Cockatoos are members of the parrot family. They are very lively and “cuddly” and bond very closely with their owners. However, their sociability and need for affection means they demand a great deal of time from their owners. Deprived of affection they become depressed or exhibit neurotic behavior. They are intelligent, playful, mischievious and they can be exceptionally loud. They are somewhat excitable so sometimes don’t do that well around kids.

They love to chew and destroy things.

The lady I was visiting told the story that is somewhat amusing on the one hand but really strange on the other hand. She and her husband were not at home and Dusty started screaming. Their neighbor heard this and, after a while, became concerned with all the screaming she heard. She called the police and they came and knocked on the door but no one answered, so they broke the door down. Imagine their surprise when this screaming bird greeted them! Even though they are beautiful birds the beauty does not extend to their inward personality.

I don’t think I would want a cockatoo, I will stick with canaries or parakeets which I’ve had during certain times of my life. I could not grapple with an abusive cockatoo!

Thought for the day: Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.  Erma Bombeck

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