The (profane) language of birds
June 23, 2015 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Max the cockatoo hates his !@&!?#$%# carrier. Max does not want to get his !@#?^*! nails clipped. Not the !@$(^#$%@! carrier again! Max will tell you exactly what he thinks about his @%!?@!?*! cage.

Bonus points for the cat at 2:40 in #4 who is 1000% done with Max and his shit.
posted by Kat Allison (39 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
So, you'll need an old priest, and a young priest.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:10 PM on June 23, 2015 [13 favorites]

This poor creature is suffering from extreme anxiety. I guess that's cute?
posted by item at 7:14 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

I thought he was actually going to be swearing. My great grandfather remarried a woman with an African grey who he taught to swear a blue streak in Spanish. She (the woman) was not amused*. We great-grandkids thought it was hilarious, though.

* - we suspected that she thought it was sort of funny too but could never let on as such.
posted by jquinby at 7:24 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't think that is an anxious cockatoo at all. That looks like a pretty healthy and happy cockatoo to me.

I've seen anxious cockatoos. I went to U of Guelph which has Canada's vet college and had a vet student roommate who took me to watch them feed rats to turkey vultures (I like birds of prey and rats so that was cool and awful at the same time). On the way to the wild bird rehab center we walked past the domestic bird rehab. There were a bunch of cockatoos in there and they had plucked their own feathers out and pecked holes in their own chests (I was told the treatment involved anti-depressants, a Victorian collar and wound management). Apparently cockatoos are extremely change averse and can just wig out over things like their owners getting a haircut.
posted by srboisvert at 7:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]

which video is #4? The 4th video is only 2 mins long. I want to see that cat :)

(great post)
posted by kittensofthenight at 7:39 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fuck Planet Earth
posted by Rhaomi at 7:43 PM on June 23, 2015

We recently adopted a cockatiel and I've been desperately trying to get her to swear, to no avail. She does ride around on my shoulders though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fuck Planet Earth

This is streaming on Netflix now! I was so happy to see that. My DVDs disappeared years ago.

I was also expecting the bird to be literally swearing. I guess swearing in evolved dino-language is okay too.
posted by curious nu at 7:46 PM on June 23, 2015

I was having Marathon flashbacks in that last one...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:50 PM on June 23, 2015

which video is #4?

Ah hah hah hah. I totally screwed up the links when I first posted, and restless_nomad fixed them with lightning speed, but she could not have psychically discerned that what I meant to post as #4 was this. Sorry! (And thanks again, r_n!)
posted by Kat Allison at 7:52 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

That is a very healthy and happy cockatoo. Cockatoos are social birds who flock in large groups. They like lots of action and lots of noise and become depressed in a quiet environment. This is in contrast to African Greys who would be totally like WTF aghast or Amazons who are kind of in the middle on that.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:07 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Not to threadsit, but there are in fact several vids on YouTube where Max is considerably more affectionate and cheerful. (I just enjoy him being grouchy as hell.)
posted by Kat Allison at 8:15 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I fell into a little wormhole of Max videos and discovered as much as Max hates his carrier, he loves a shower.
posted by gladly at 8:20 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Be sure to turn on the auto generated closed captions for the first video.
posted by metaphorever at 8:22 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think he just likes sliding down the banister.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:45 PM on June 23, 2015

I'm impressed they have a wood bannister that hasn't been chewed to bits around a cockatoo with semi-free rein.
posted by aaronetc at 9:06 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

So, you'll need an old priest, and a young priest.

And when the bird starts spinning it's neck and speaking Aramaic or Latin and both priests are down and the bed won't stay on the floor... get out of there.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:07 PM on June 23, 2015

Max needs to start a band
posted by Existential Dread at 9:22 PM on June 23, 2015

He's also sexy.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:23 PM on June 23, 2015

Met a Metro driver who, with her husband, has a rescue Orange Macaw, among other birds, and fell into such a conversation that I rode past my stop.

Back story: they let it out loose in the house for a couple hours, upon which much mayhem can happen as it flies around inside.

So, when in a good mood, it is all 'Hi!' or 'Hello, there!' But when ignored or in another room, it's 'Hey, what are you doing! Watch out!'

And they have an old fat cat named Bart, who likes the bird and sleeps under his perch. And the bird loves the cat and calls out 'Ba-a-art! Good kitty!'
posted by y2karl at 10:37 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine a had a female white cockatoo named Treasure who looked a lot like Max. She loved to nibble on the plastic vertical blinds. He would discourage her with a few squirts of water from a squirt bottle. She would shuffle away muttering garbled curses over her shoulder.

Whenever we would watch TV on the couch, she would burrow her head under my "wing" and into the gap between the seat-cushion and back. I would watch a whole movie with a white feathery tail sticking up in the air from my armpit.

She was very sweet and I miss her. She got me over the fear of finger snapping beaks and scratchy claws, and let me know she trusted me by letting my rub her under her wings.
posted by Anoplura at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]

The "I don't like my truck but you still can't touch it" video is like some creepy miniature replay of scenes from Jurassic Park, with this feathered beast that can just pick up a vehicle and throw it around.
posted by hippybear at 1:17 AM on June 24, 2015

We recently adopted a cockatiel and I've been desperately trying to get her to swear, to no avail
yea, tiels aren't super good at learning a lot of words, but what they do love is when you mimic them. Repeat back any sounds your little dude makes, and you'll have a happy bird.

This poor creature is suffering from extreme anxiety

I don't think so, I think that he's just having a wonderful time pretending that he's angry. I know that sounds crazy, but all the birds I've had have just loved to sometimes pitch a noisy fit. They really seem to have a lot of fun doing it!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:41 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

This post is missing a David Lynch tag.
posted by juiceCake at 4:18 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Repeat back any sounds your little dude makes, and you'll have a happy bird.

DUDETTE. Tiny Dinosaur doesn't appreciate your misuse of pronouns. Now scratch her head!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:24 AM on June 24, 2015

Brandon Blatcher, they absolutely can learn to talk, if you're persistent and the bird is interested. Mine's only a little over a year old and already has a few phrases, including one that he saves for when my beau comes over (who taught him that).
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:23 AM on June 24, 2015

Oh, the females are supposedly less likely to talk, but I'd keep trying anyway!
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:24 AM on June 24, 2015

Looks like Max appreciates a good brushing too
posted by bowmaniac at 6:47 AM on June 24, 2015

Max has got nothing on Pebbles.
posted by lagomorphius at 7:10 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Max is awesome. As a cockatoo slave I can say that he seems like a very happy and contented birdie. All cockatoos have their moments. But then don't we all?
posted by Splunge at 7:39 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Max sounds like an imperial probe droid after a long night at the bar.
posted by JohnFromGR at 8:04 AM on June 24, 2015

:( I find it very hard to figure out what the parrots are saying. It sounds like just a series of sounds.

Is there a transcript I can use?

/Is it just me?
posted by TheLittlePrince at 8:06 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've had ties over the years and the most I could get out of them was "birdie birdie birdie birdie", the wolf whistle, and a few other low-key things. The last one was happiest in the sunroom, facing the windows and joining in with all the bird racket outside.

We had a parakeet when I was kid and that thing could talk like nobody's business. A subsequent parakeet was something of a disappointment, though it did learn to perfectly imitate the microwave button beeps, which was pretty amusing.
posted by jquinby at 9:03 AM on June 24, 2015

It sounds like just a series of sounds.

I'm pretty sure that's what it is -- glossolalia mimicking the general sound patterns of human speech, rather than actual distinct words or phrases. Still, it seems very expressive!
posted by Drexen at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2015

I really love birds and recently remarked to a friend that I think I would enjoy living with a cockatoo, despite the immense commitment that comes with living with parrots. The Max videos cured me, because although I'm all for cute birds and cute bird videos, that was like watching all of the worst parts of a toddler being egged on by all of the worst parts of a parent who thinks their awful toddler is the cutest and the bestest. So thanks, I guess!
posted by mudpuppie at 9:05 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Please, if you are considering getting a cockatoo, check this site out first: My Toos. WARNING: LOUD BIRD SCREAMING, which is also what you will hear a LOT of if you get a cockatoo.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:54 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cockatoos crack me up. A former neighbor had one named Dennis, who would pretend to be ambulance sirens whenever I rode past on my bike.

Dennis was kind of an asshole, but I loved him anyway.
posted by MissySedai at 11:46 AM on June 24, 2015

Now scratch her head!

ahh headscratching a bird is the best!
Dr Buzzard says hi to Tiny Dinosaur
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:04 PM on June 24, 2015

While I love my Beaker dearly, my first impression would be to tell anyone, anyone, not to get a cockatoo for a first bird. That would be like getting a Lamborghini Countach as a first car. Sure, it's a car. And it is a very nice car. But if you have never driven a car before you will have grief.

The same with cockatoos. My first parrot was a Quaker. And even that was a serious trip.

A cockatoo is a reciprocal saw with a very smart brain. It will destroy anything it can get its beak on. Or at least try. It will get out of a cage that you think is escape proof. It will crap on everything and laugh. It might learn to speak. It will certainly scream loud enough to damage your hearing. And you can't blame it for that. A cockatoo's syrinx is designed to be heard through dense forest or jungle, for miles. That's how they communicate. Imagine having a train horn next to your couch. And it goes off randomly. That's a cockatoo.

When you get a cockatoo from a reputable seller. Reputable is key here. It is probably three months old, tops. The older a parrot gets, the cheaper it is. Why? The get attached to the people that feed them. No dealer or pet store wants a cockatoo older than 5 months in their stock. Because then they become unsellable.

So a cockie that was originally $1500 USD at the age of 3 mths becomes a cockie that is $1000 USD at 5 mths. After that it's best offer.

So. When I got Beaker he was the sweetest, cuddliest, birdie in the world. Now that he's 2 years old, he spends most of his time in his cage. He's in the terrible twos. This is the time that most people give away their birds.

They say:

He was so loving at first. But now he hates me.
I can't stand the screaming.
He bites me.

Let me tell you about Beaker. He was so loving at first. But now he hates me.
I can't stand the screaming.
He bites me.

But I don't care.

I knew, going into this relationship, that this would happen. He's a bird that is 2 years old. And he will live to be around 45 or 50 years old. He's a toddler now. Should you toss your child in the garbage when he's 2 years old? I hope not. I love Beaker with all my heart. As does the wife. We knew what would be. And we are committed to making Beaker part of our lives for as long as we all live.

Having said that. If you're considering a bird get a parakeet. Don't mess with big birds. You are not ready for this shit. Trust me.
posted by Splunge at 8:01 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

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