I recently visited a bird aviary where they housed a wonderful choice of small parakeets, cockatiels, and various lovebirds. The enclosure was large enough for a small walking path to make a nice circle around some low-lying branches and trees that the park had put in place so the birds could be seen up close.
This female cockatiel broke away from her little group on a nearby low branch to check me out. She seemed a little more than passively curious about my camera. I’m thinking she may have seen her reflection in the lens and thought I was another bird to come and say hello.
In any case, I learned that the common grey male cockatiels are almost all grey, and only the females seem to sport about in colored splendor. The crest on the back of her head acts almost like a mood ring of sorts. Owners of these splendid birds will tell you that when the crest is vertical they are either excited or curious.
It’s when that crest goes flat against the head that you should begin to worry about that sharp little beak. I’m told this will only happen when they feel threatened. The most common cause is either having a child trying to pet them on their head, or another aggressive bird nearby will cause some problems.
Generally, the most unfortunate aspect of this bird variety is the noise they produce. While they are nowhere near as loud as a full-sized parrot, they don’t seem to come with a mute button.
But when it comes to portraits, these little beauties see to love the attention. Once my little friend finished her close up, she flew off back to her small group with little effort. I don’t know if I satisfied her brief curiosity, but she certainly left a happy portrait.
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