“Her name is Fred,” he told me.
A question must have marked my face, for Jay smiled and added, “I thought she was a boy until she laid her first egg.”
Fred is a beautiful white cockatoo who lives with Jay and Holly, and whom I met when Jerry and I were invited over for a delicious dinner on Easter Sunday. She is strikingly beautiful and the slant of the late afternoon sun illuminated her body so that she fairly glowed. Her crest is yellow, as are some of her feathers.
“She knows what a camera is,” Jay bragged, and indeed it seemed true, for once I started snapping pictures, she flipped and preened and made a great show.
Earlier Jay had taken her from the cage, had tussled around with her, and had puckered up and accommodated a kiss from Fred whom he had owned for 15 years. “She is so sweet,” he pointed out, holding her this way and that, lifting high her wings and gently wrestling with her. Using a squirt bottle he gave her a bath as she perched atop her cage. “Go to your cage,” he told her as she sat on his shoulder across the room from her large enclosure.
“She can bite your finger in two,” Jay now said.
“She bites. Hard. Don’t stick your finger in her cage.” Jay continued. “She could probably kill my mother.”
“Kill your mother? What are you talking about?” This was a beautiful soft appearing white bird, whom I had watched interact with Jay for some minutes now. Bite? Kill? I asked the obvious question. “Does she bite you?”
“No, she never bites me. I think only once in 15 years has she bit me.” He went on with an explanation of cockatoos then, telling how loving and sweet they are–but generally to one person only. “She considers me her “mate,” and she is jealous of anyone else. My mother? She senses that she is very close to me and would actually harm her.”
He told me how much pressure a cockatoo applies per square inch, but I can’t remember what it was. Enough to crack open hard nuts…and damage unwary hands. “I sure wanted to pet her,” I lamented, and Jay said, “Oh, you can. She won’t hurt you at all if I hold her and let you pet her.”
He took her from the cage and brought her to me, and I admit to feeling cautious as I caressed her soft white body. We spent quite an amount of time there, part of it learning of cockatoos, and that Fred is called a Lesser Sulphur Crested. She differs from a Major Sulphur Crested in that she has blue around her eyes. As we visited I recalled a story I heard a couple of weeks ago about a parrot who saved the life of a little girl. Willie is his name. Sorry I couldn’t find a picture of him.
DENVER — A parrot whose cries of alarm alerted his owner when a little girl choked on her breakfast has been honored as a hero.
Willie, a Quaker parrot, has been given the local Red Cross chapter’s Animal Lifesaver Award.
In November, Willie’s owner, Megan Howard, was baby-sitting for a toddler. Howard left the room and the little girl, Hannah, started to choke on her breakfast.
Willie repeatedly yelled “Mama, baby” and flapped his wings, and Howard returned in time to find the girl already turning blue.
Howard saved Hannah by performing the Heimlich maneuver but said Willie “is the real hero.”
“The part where she turned blue is always when my heart drops no matter how many times I’ve heard it,” Hannah’s mother, Samantha Kuusk, told KCNC-TV. “My heart drops in my stomach and I get all teary eyed.”
Willie got his award during a “Breakfast of Champions” event Friday attended by Gov. Bill Ritter and Mayor John Hickenlooper.
An amazing story.