UMBRELLA COCKATOO: Cacatua alba

The Umbrella Cockatoo is a medium-sized (18”), white cockatoo with yellow on the undersides of the wings and tail. Umbrellas are originally from the tropical rainforest on islands of Indonesia. The head crest fans out in a semicircular shape similar to an umbrella. Their life expectancy is 65 years.

 

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Hutch is an Umbrella Cockatoo who will soon star in our “Birds of Prey and a Cockatoo, Too!” program with Wind Over Wings. He was bred in captivity in Connecticut and born early in November 2013. Many of you may remember Blanca, a Moluccan Cockatoo, starring in this program. Blanca is retired now but was the most requested bird for environmental education programs for years. Blanca was raised in San Francisco by a journalist who taught Blanca how to identify objects. Soon this amazing cockatoo began putting sentences together. Although he was named Blanca, if we called him Blanco in a program he would correct us. Once in a program at the Westbrook High School in Connecticut, a student came in wearing a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones with a lightning bolt through the eye socket. Blanca looked at the boy and at the shirt and said, “What’s your problem?” Stories are many, but just one more: A volunteer arrived at Wind Over Wings announcing that she had found the body of a little owl in her driveway. Blanca asked, “How did it die?” She said, “I don’t know. It was just there.” It took her just a minute to realize that she had just answered a bird. So, little Hutch has big shoes to fill. Hutch will help adults and children learn the difference between parrots and birds of prey. He also will help the audience understand that parrots can live a long time and are a tremendous responsibility. But what a joy!

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