Saturday, May 06, 2006

Free as a bird

The entire point of the following post is to demonstrate how magnanimous I am. (In the face of this).

Just so you know.

The background to the story is that the cockatoos around here have developed a new game. They bite and claw at the rubber that surrounds the lightbulby bit of street lamps until they have persuaded enough of it to hang down for them to use it as their own personal cockatoo swing. This makes them very happy and they swing squawkily back and forth playing King of the Castle for hours on end.

The one that we passed this morning, however, was not a happy chap. Seems he had managed to get himself all tangled up in his rubber swing and was hanging by his feet. And the more he struggled, the tangleder he got himself. After a minute of watching him screaming angrily and trying desperately to curl his body up and around to get his beak up to where his feet were (and if you have never seen something nearly spherical trying to back-arch, you have no idea how funny that was), we realised he was going to need some outsider intervention.

But since we have not yet entered the century of the cellphone, we weren't able to do anything about it on the spot, so instead we carried on to the gym and called the SPCA from there. Which meant we weren't around to get exciting action photos of the person they sent out to cut the poor parrot down. I just hope they had seriously thick gloves and face protection.

And on the way home when I intended to get some nice photos of swinging cockatoos to illustrate this post with, I discovered that someone (presumably the SPCA) had gone all along the streets in our area removing the dangling rubber things. The one in the photo above was the only one left. I guess because it had broken in half anyway they decided it no longer poses a danger to over-stimulated cockatoos.

Anyone with kids knows what it's like to toddler-proof a house. Well imagine trying to toddler-proof an entire city -- for a toddler who can fly. Much as I admire them, I have to say I think the SPCA is fighting a losing battle with this one.


grace said...

Hilarious!! So reminiscent of keas. I guess in their natural habitat they have to be ingenious to find enough food, and this ingenuity can have rather strange consequences in an artificial environment.

I do think birds' intelligence and complexity is unknown to most people.

The first pet I ever had was a rooster, a big handsome bird who had an affectionate nature (with me, anyway), but a rather pathological hatred of dogs. He would stand guard at the top end of the drive, and if someone walked along the footpath with a dog, he would crow his special war-crow and run full tilt, fling himself at the dog, and try to peck it to death. The poor bewildered dogs generally just stood there in utter disbelief until someone pulled the bird off. Only once did a dog bite him back: it was a big dog, and my rooster needed a lot of stitches! He did once get his feet tangled, attacking my sister's Old English Sheepdog. The dog wandered into the house looking miserable, with the rooster hanging upsidedown from his fur, flapping and squawking furiously.

StyleyGeek said...

What a wonderful story, Grace! I've never known anyone who had a pet rooster before, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Maybe it'll catch on and be the next big pet craze.