Stanley Confides In Us
In the arcane language of ornithology, a wild bird is said to be “confiding” when it is relatively comfortable allowing humans to approach it or approaching humans.
Our most confiding neighbourhood bird of late has also been the most unexpected: a young gang-gang cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum), his head and floppy crest still ripening into the vivid scarlet of an adult male, and not commonly seen in Melbourne’s “sandbelt” suburbs just minutes from Port Phillip Bay.
We don’t usually give names to wild birds, but after his second daily visit to the Cotoneaster right outside our front door he needed a name, and “Stanley” stuck. It was usually the noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) who announced Stanley’s arrival with their “stranger danger” calls. Not that a mild-mannered gang-gang poses any threat; miners are just a bit highly strung.
Five days in a row Stanley visited, quietly and skilfully biting open the small red Cotoneaster fruits and extracting the tiny seeds with his tongue, then just hanging out preening and snoozing for a while, feeding a bit more, and departing with a short squawk.
Yet despite his confiding nature, Stanley never did really share his secrets: where he hatched and grew up, who his family were, where he spent his nights, or where he planned to go next in his journey.
Author bio: Stephen is a marketing academic, enthusiastic bird photographer, and founder of @ParrotOfTheDay on Twitter and Instagram