Exotic Animals

The Arrival of Oscar

In a previous tale on this site I explained how we came to get a Medium Sulpher Crested Cockatoo, which we named Noodle.

A few months ago, a friend down in Kwa Zulu Natal asked if we would be interested in having her sons’ Umbrella Cockatoo as well. Cockatoos are renowned for their ability to produce ear-splitting shrieks, and their neighbours had been complaining about Oscar’s vocal gymnastics. Of course we were only too happy to acquire another parrot, having had such fun with Noodle. So Oscar duly joined our ranks.

Now that we knew all about parrots (having owned exactly one for just on a year!!), we were certain that these two would hit it off and thoroughly enjoy each others’ company. At the time of Oscar’s arrival, Noodle was a 17 year old female and Oscar an 8 year old male. Parrot Paradise!!

Needless to say, we were hopelessly wrong – Noodle took one look at Oscar and decided that a dead Umbrella Cockatoo would be much nicer than a live one.

As soon as she saw him, Noodle marched over the grass, shot up the side of Oscar’s cage and tried to attack him. We were gobsmacked!! Our friendship made in heaven was doomed before it had even started!! At least we were smart enough to have Oscar enclosed so that Noodle (who is considerably the smaller of the two) was not able to make contact with him.

The stress of having Oscar within sight upset Noodle so much that she started self mutilating again. >sigh< We resolved this problem by putting her inside aviary back into another part of the house so that she could spend her nights alone and in peace. During the day the two birds were in separate aviaries close to each other.

As time passed things settled down and the birds came to tolerate each other fairly well. One of their favourite games now is to have screaming matches. A lot of fun for them, but rather unpleasant for us with sensitive hearing.

We were a bit concerned about the condition of Oscar’s feathers and general well being, so we arranged to take him up to Roodeplaat so that Dr Chris Kingsley could check him over. He also had a silver ring on his one leg which appeared to be too tight. When we arrived at the surgery, Chris commented on what a lovely girl Oscar was. We quickly assured him the Oscar was a boy bird. (this we had been told by the previous owners who had had him since a baby. Oscar also repeatedly stated “Oscar’s a Good Boy!” so we knew that he must be a male). Oscar was sedated to have his ring removed, and whilst under anaesthetic, Chris scoped him and proved for once and for all that Oscar was in fact a female. (I even got to see her ovaries through the scope). So Oscar became Oska overnight. Perhaps this explains why Noodle was so anti him/her originally – a bit of feminine jealousy at play?

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