Methuselah (that’s what I’ve named him) has moved into a pecan tree above the chicken run. He’s either sick or very old (or both). I suspect he’s old – which means something because cockatoos live easily to 80. He’s lost a lot of his feathers, especially from his beautiful yellow crest, and his white isn’t quite as bright at the average cocky. Most cockatoos are found in flocks or at least pairs but this guy keeps popping into our tree all by himself. I’ve been a bit worried about him but can’t think of what I can/should do to help. I did approach him to see if he was an escaped pet. If so, he showed no affinity to humans. Neither did he harbour a deep fear. Which means I’m no nearer to uncovering the truth.
I went into the chook run to rake up fallen leaves from the pecan trees (and to collect another few kilos of nuts off the ground). After about 30 minutes of hard labour, Methuselah landed in the tree above me and squawked. I talked to him and he watched me. Then he hopped down and drank from the trough that will be one of the watering places for our chickens (once we move them here from our Chatswood house).
I cracked a couple of pecan nuts and tossed some flesh towards him – he didn’t seem to understand I was trying to feed him (probably not an escaped pet then). I set some on a brick near him and moved away. Not so much as a look in my direction.
If his beak is still strong enough to crack open the pecan nuts, he’s got plenty to eat, and he’s got a nice trough of water right there too. I don’t think there’s anything I can do beyond watch and speak nicely to him whenever I see him. He seems content to just rest all day waiting for that end game with dignity. I wonder what he’ll think when the chickens move in.
Here’s a younger, fitter sulphur crested cockatoo that visited my Chatswood garden. Plenty of yellow crest and clean, white feathers on display there.
Update 7 July 2013: Yesterday, after I made this post, I saw Methuselah several times. When I did, I would call his name and talk to him, trying to get him used to me. In the evening, I found him at the edge of the pecan orchard sitting on the ground.
Today I went out and called, “Methuselah,” but didn’t see him. That’s not a big deal, he often doesn’t show up until mid-morning. At 10 I started to worry and went looking for him where I last saw him. About 2 metres away from where he was peacefully sitting last night, I found a pile of white feathers with yellow tinge. Obviously a cockatoo. Pretty definitely to a fox. Almost certainly Methuselah.
Methuselah, R.I.P. I knew you for only a little while, but you did brighten my days. You’ll be missed, old fella.