This droll, comical little bird is often overlooked because it doesn’t fit the image that most people have when they think about cockatoos. To those of us who know them up close and personal, however, a properly raised Bare Eyed is the ultimate companion bird.  Known for their intelligence and talking ability these outgoing little clowns are usually willing to show off for anyone, anywhere, anytime.  When you think of all of the gorgeous cockatoos available to Australians who choose to keep a native species as a pet, it is not surprising to me that the Bare Eyed cockatoo is number one. 
 
Known as Little Corellas in their homeland of Australia and New Guinea, they, along with the Greater Sulfur Crested cockatoo and the Rose Breasted Cockatoo (or Galah) are found in large flocks and are considered serious pests by farmers. In Europe they have long been appreciated for their pet potential, but only recently have Americans begun to realize what they have been missing. If there is a downside to the Bare Eyed personality, perhaps it is that these happy little extroverts are just too smart. There is certainly never a dull moment when you share your life with one, and their naughty, mischievous nature can make them difficult when there is a battle of wills.  Like all high-energy parrots, when their excitement level escalates they can become unintentionally nippy. 

B
are Eyeds have amazing flying abilities and our pet, Nick, has been free-flighted outdoors at  Hornbeam Aviary for a couple of years now. He has a large cage in the kitchen where he oversees and comments on goings on, and he spends several hours each day flying around the property, visiting (and often pestering) the breeding ‘toos in the outdoor flights. Although I sometimes worry about hawks, Nick seems very much aware of what is going on around him, and I often see him carefully scanning the sky and surrounding trees. When he is ready to come back inside, he flies to the front porch and announces his arrival with a cheerful “Hi there!” He has never disappeared from sight and usually comes when called.


The other day Jim was up on our roof cleaning the chimney. Nick spotted him from the aviary, flew to the chimney and they finished the job together. We joked later that, had he fallen down the chimney, I would finally have the black cockatoo I’ve always wanted!

 

 

 

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