Cockatoos are assholes!

As this is my first blog post I wanted to start with some hard hitting reporting. I’m currently reading Edward Abbey’s Abbey’s Road, I’m only about 25 pages in so i’m not going to give a review here. However there was a section of the book that gave me pause, here is the excerpt. 

“Walking south of the station headquarters one day, I observed parrot like birds swinging from the telephone line that connected Anna Creek to the exchange at William Creek and points beyond. Taking off, landing again, in well-drilled multitudes, hanging upside down from the wire and swinging back and forth, sometimes flipping clear around, the cockatoos were slowly but surely pulling the line to the ground.”

This I had to look into. The thought of a bird enjoying destruction so much that it was actually “flipping clear round” the wires seems like a bird I would like to get to know. I was worried that since this book was published in 1972 that advances had been made that would thwart this avian onslaught. It turns out that my fear may be partially true. While I couldn’t verify the destructive cockatoo acrobatics described by Mr. Abbey I did find several headlines that confirmed for me that cockatoos may in fact be assholes.

“Cockatoos are destroying one of my trees, how do I get them to leave?”

“How do I stop a cockatoo from attacking my property?”

“Cockatoos attack!”

“Guidelines for reducing cockatoo damage.”

“Cockatoos are literally destroying my house.”

I wish I could express the amount of joy each of these headlines gives me.  I had to know, why are cockatoos such assholes?? While I was partially satisfied knowing that out there in this large spinning globe we call the earth there is a bird that could cause a headline such as “Cockatoos attack!”, I was still only partially satisfied.

I will not pretend to be a researcher and I only put in a small amount of time looking into what can only be described as the Cockatoo Apocalypse. But this is all I needed to realize that the cockatoo is the Black Metal musician of the bird world. Here is a paragraph from the cockatoo wikipedia page under the section “Pest”. 

Several species of cockatoo can be serious agricultural pests.[82] They are sometimes controlled by shooting, poisoning or capture followed by gassing. Non-lethal damage mitigation methods used include scaring, habitat manipulation and the provision of decoy food dumps or sacrifice crops to distract them from the main crop. They can be a nuisance in urban areas due to destruction of property. They maintain their bills in the wild by chewing on wood but, in suburbia, they may chew outdoor furniture, door and window frames;[51] soft decorative timbers such as western red cedar are readily demolished.[83] Birds may also target external wiring and fixtures such as solar water heaters,[51] television antennae and satellite dishes.[83] A business in central Melbourne suffered as sulphur-crested cockatoos repeatedly stripped the silicone sealant from the plate glass windows.[84] Galahs and red-tailed black cockatoos have stripped electrical cabling in rural areas and tarpaulin is targeted elsewhere.[84] Outside Australia, the Tanimbar corella is a pest on Yamdena Island where it raids maize crops.[85]

It’s rumored that the above cockatoo burnt down this church.

From my deep knowledge and understanding of cockatoos, “Non-lethal damage mitigation methods used include scaring” seems laughable at best and dangerous at worst. These birds obviously worship at the altar of the Dark One and unless you want a baby goat to be sacrificed in your backyard I wouldn’t recommend scaring them. It’s probably best to just let them eat the glazing off your widows and chew up your outdoor furniture and spare the livestock and Christians the heartache. 

During my extensive research it came to my attention that cockatoos make exceptional pets which is odd considering most of the pictures and stories that I saw where of cockatoos being bastards.

As far as I’m concerned, the evidence is overwhelming cockatoos are amazing birds and we are all luckier to be living in such a special place. I suppose the next obvious question is should I get a cockatoo as a pet? I think the above evidence makes it very clear…absolutely not, cockatoos are assholes.

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  1. We often refer to our pet cockatoo as a dick. But he can be very affectionate, too. He is obviously quite intelligent, he just doesn’t really care about rules. I can respect that. He is a rescue, and somehow his former owner taught him not to crap on people, which is a relief and also demonstrates that cockatoos can be taught. They usually just don’t want to learn. I relate to that. These birds don’t thrive on destruction as much as chaos (which includes destructive and non-destructive methods). He loved to taunt the dogs, so he very possibly has a death wish; he is certainly defiant. I can respect that. My husband is quite handy, so the electrical cords are either frequently repaired or encased in metal shrouds to keep the bird off. The wood has been a more difficult issue to fix. Sigh. But we love to have him flying through our house, crowing his triumph and glory over the new day. Shrug. It must be an acquired taste.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yes, I can vouch that cockatoos can be assholes, but they are also extremely clever, comedians and acrobats, not to mention cunning thieves and destructive vandals.

    I had pet cockatoos in my childhood, but they all ended up being rehomed. Their life expectancy is similar to that of a human too, so they’re not a short term pet by any means.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It put a smile on my face and had me nodding in agreement.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Having been an eye-witness to many cockatoo property assaults while living in Australia, I can confirm that not only are they destructive, they have a squawk that is so annoying and so loud that you will think they’ve been trained and unleashed by the noise-cancelling headphones department of Bose. Every morning and afternoon they congregated by the hundreds in a tree in my backyard for social-hour. Being woken up by hundreds of squawking cockatoos is a terrifying experience that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.
    But they weren’t the worst of the Aussie! The worst were the magpies. They actually swoop down and attack people each Spring. Especially people on bicycles.

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  4. Where we live, in the hills on the edge of Melbourne, we have flocks of cockatoos even though they are not native to the high country. In the 1960s, we had devastating bushfires that swept through the whole area. One of the restaurants in the area had an aviary full of cockatoos. The owner set them free to give them a chance to escape. The birds returned to the area after the fires and have thrived. So, for those of us oldtimers who know the story, there is a unique smile that emerges when we hear them go by. They are loud, it’s true, and they can be destructive when they get bored, but the same can be said for all of us Aussies. By the way, if you are going to bag an Aussie icon, it is best to call it an ‘arsehole’. Also, by the way, Magpies only chase people who harass them. It has been proven that they remember the faces of people who give them a hard time. You have to love those birds! Terry

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dying here. Thank you. Read your post while I took a break from writing the sequel to Laughing Down the Moon and guess who one of the favorite characters is. Dwight Night, Jr. a rescued cockatoo. I had no idea they were suck whankers! I’ve only ever lived with a quaker parrot, as far as big birds go, and he was a really nice fellow. Never had to put metal around the cords or anything. I’m going to go back through the manuscript and add some bastardly bird doings. Thanks for helping me keep it real.

    Liked by 1 person

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