A Noisy Rascal

Gangs of cockatoos have been marauding around town, leaving a trail of debris. I have been battling to protect my ornamental pistachio tree from them. Flocks have descended and been stripping off great chunks, dropping them on the ground below. At times I have felt like a mad woman as I rush out and hose the tree. Invariably these hooligans fly off screaming expletives at me and letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that they ‘will be back’ with friends.

Perhaps I need to take a moment to see them in a different light and come to understand the medicine they offer.

They 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! 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 of 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!

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