Photo Above: Seram Island, home of the Moluccan Cockatoo. This photo shows how dense and difficult, the Indonesian jungles are to navigate. Imagine how challenging it would be, to gather accurate evidence of wild Cockatoo behavior. Example: Cockatoos mate for life
There are Flock Leaders
They pick on the weak or disabled
As the years have gone by, I have been waiting to see, who the flock leader will be in each of the enclosures. Cockatoo, Macaw, Grey and Amazons ….Over 20 years and I am still waiting. Who started this myth?
There are no flock leaders in our colonies, none. Occasionally, a bird will be in a grumpy mood, nobody cares and nobody is following anybody. I suspect someone with chickens or somebody assumed that all birds have flock leaders. Maybe, we should ask …..how do you know? Did you trek through the jungle to watch? If I can’t tell one Umbrella from another at a distance of 50 feet, then how can an observer perched in the canopy tell a “pair” of identical looking birds “mate” for life. Or, which birds are male or female.
Here at the Sanctuary, I can tell who is who by leg band, eye color, feather condition, speech, body language and if all else fails, a bit of food coloring on their feathers.
They do not pick on the weak! In fact, the Cockatoos are kind and compassionate to any Cockatoo that is feather picked, mutilators, physically or visually impaired. I have numerous examples but, I’ll use this one. I have a male wild caught bird that has balance issues due to an injury. He sleeps on the feeding station and other domestic males are letting the wild caught lean on them at night.
Cockatoos Mate for Life
Nobody knows…In order for that to be fact, someone would need to find a way to mark a wild pair of Cockatoos, every species and follow those pairs through their life. Through the jungles, following those species who live in the Indonesian Islands.
I live with hundreds of Cockatoos and I cannot tell one fully feathered white bird from another, 50 feet away. And, I know them all.
This does not apply to Amazons or Macaws because I don’t have enough Amazons or Macaws to render a judgement
Photo Left: Imagine navigating this jungle island, New Guinea tracking a flock of native Triton Cockatoos. How are they going to track a “pair”? How can they determine the sex of the birds from a distance? Eye Color? Here at the Sanctuary, we have males that build “nest divots” together.
Cockatoos Must Be Introduced Slowly
Never Allow a Cockatoo on your Shoulder
Not true, I have been doing introductions for 20 years and I prefer doing those introductions immediately. I want to be standing there watching in case I need to referee. I introduce new birds, into a space with a large group of the same species birds. They don’t get attacked for being the new bird. They have to be supervised and you need to watch the birds body language. If there is a grumpy bird that likes to start trouble, I remove the grumpy bird for a few days, to give the new bird time to settle in and make some new friends. I usually garden nearby or re-arrange perches in the enclosure.
Does not apply to Amazons, Macaws
The reason “they” give for not allowing a bird on your shoulder? They suggest to always be above your bird, to assert yourself as flock leader. Well, if they don’t have flock leaders, why would it matter?
I believe it should be based on your birds individual personality. If you have a sweet bird, go ahead. If you have a bird that has “moods” maybe not. Anytime I get bit, its always my fault. I wear protective glasses when I work with the birds.
There always exceptions, for instance, I would never put a Sulphur crested male on my shoulder. I believe, based on my experience. The girls are sweet and more predictable than the males.
Cockatoos in the Wild Take Rain baths Daily
Photos Below: Solomon Islands Ducorp, Obi Island Umbrella
Again, there is no one following the Cockatoos around the jungle. Here in the Pacific NW where it rains frequently, they are not taking daily or even weekly rain baths. Even during the spring and summer they don’t bathe daily or weekly. The Cockatoos from the arid areas in Australia, likely don’t take rain baths often. Most of the Cockatoos housed here at the Sanctuary, are from the South Pacific Islands.
The Macaws, run to get out of the rain most of the time. We joke about it, they act as if the rain is a monster. I would see them bathe once a month, maybe.
The average annual rainfall of Seattle, is 37.49 inches
The average annual rainfall of New Guinea is 79-197 inches
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