Churchill is an 18 month old female Citrone Cockatoo who has quickly and thoroughly worked her way into our hearts. Neither of us could possibly imagine life without her anymore…
We first got her at 6 months old, after having visited with her in the bird store four separate times for a few hours each; we picked her because of her personality. Obviously very bright, and so sweetly affectionate…we fell in love with her immediately.
Although cockatoos are not nearly as talkative as parrots are (although they belong to the same family of birds), she has amazed us with her facility to quickly learn. Even more startling is her use of words and phrases only in appropriate situations, convincing us that she's not just mindlessly mimicking what she hears, but actually understands on a simple level what it means. Among her more endearing utterings:
"Hallo baby…" when I come in the door at night
"I love you baby" first thing in the morning and when put to bed at night
"Hallo" spoken with an upward inflection, only when the 'phone rings (just the way Muffin says it when answering the 'phone)
"Is Maria a good girl?" to my wife, first thing in the morning
"Mummy loves you" at various times in the day when we're close to her
She recently started full throated laughing, and now does it whenever we chuckle about something or another.
It takes two years to tell the sex of these birds by eye colour, which is a bit long to be calling her "Hey you…", so we named her Churchill back when we (I) thought (hoped) she was a boy. The fall back plan had been to call her Thatcher if she was discovered to be a girl, however, by the time we knew for certain it was far too late to change…