On my last trip to Australia, back in December, we drove the highway from Adelaide to Sydney for New Year's Eve. On the way, we stopped at a little town...just a little blip on the map...but a very significant spot to Aussies. We stopped at Gundagai...well, 9 miles from Gundagai, (pronounced "goon-duh-gye".) An historical monument and tourist center was built there to celebrate the deep history of the early pioneers and a poem that they recited over the decades. Australian children read it in primary school; often referred to as the "Dog on a Tucker Box" (a "tucker box" is a lunchbox.) (for the poem, see: http://members.canb.auug.org.au/~stmcdona/tuckrbox.html )
It was there that I had my first encounter with cockatoos in the wild; hundreds of them filling the trees! We had stepped into the park surrounding the "Dog on a Tucker Box" monument when I heard the sounds of birds...so many birds...all hanging out together and chatting like a large gathering of ladies at a Mary Kay convention! They had their yellow cheeks like perfectly placed blush and their eyes outlined in black as though put there by Mary Kay herself! They were strutting their stuff with plumes stretched-out like they were showing off their latest hairdo. It was quite the spectacle!
Up until that point, my only close encounter with a cockatoo was at my mother's house! She had a pet cockatoo named Tuts, (she inherited him when a friend passed away.) He was a sweet bird to look at, but definitely had a mean side to him. If you stood too close to his cage he would bite at you like you were today's lunch! Mom always knew how to deal with him; she could feed him and tend to his very large cage the size of an apartment! (Well...maybe not quite that big!) but anyone else was considered a potential meal! Let's just say I kept my kids very far away from his cage!
Every now and then, Tuts would start strutting his stuff with his white feathers glistening like John Travolta on the dance floor in his white disco suit! He could be quite entertaining with his head bopping up-and-down, until that is...he started his vocalizations of "Stayin' Alive!" Have you ever heard a cockatoo squawk in a small contained space like a living room? It's enough to leave your ears ringing and you begging to hear your teenager's loud rock music blasting on the stereo speakers for some peace and quiet!
Poor Tuts. I guess he was meant to be in the wild along with the thousands of cockatoos that fill the Australian skies.
...He could have used his disco moves to pick up chicks!