Birdies in motion

Here's the cockatoo video I briefly linked to the other day. I think it's a boy; apparently the only visible difference is that females have red-brown eyes, and males have darker brown. I'll call it "he", anyway.

This clip serves as a pretty good test of the VPC-C6's exposure control. White bird against bright sky isn't as bad as black bird against bright sky, but it's not much easier.

Note also that when there's very little background noise, you can clearly hear the C6's autofocus ticking away to itself. The zoom's completely silent, though.

Crest action!

As I mentioned before, they walk like policemen with their hands behind their backs.

They're quite noisy eaters, at least when they've got seed to crunch.

Note that there's also no guarantee that a seed that makes it into the beak will subsequently go down the gullet.

I think that may be why they do this. Grab beak with foot to keep seed in place while you crack it.

They certainly don't need foot assistance to actually crack the seed; parrots in general have beak strength to spare, as many people who have stuck their finger through the wire of a cage that has a sign on it saying DO NOT STICK YOUR FINGER THROUGH THE WIRE will be able to confirm.

This is a Crimson Rosella (another male - Rosellas are easier to tell apart).

In an act of staggering audacity, this Rosella is considering eating some of the seed, too.

(The sun comes out from behind a cloud at the end of this clip, and the bright white cockatoo is gloriously overexposed. This was because I'd set the C6 to ISO 100 while fiddling with it. Setting it back to auto-ISO allowed it to compensate for the extra light.)

The cockie was nervous about me standing there, and had hopped off the table to peer at me from further away. Now he's back, engaging in more foot-assisted eating, and ignoring the Rosella completely.

When the cockie thinks he might actually miss out on some seed, though, things change.

Anybody with a bird feeder cannot escape the disappointing realities of bird behaviour. They may look all soft and colourful and pretty, but they by and large do not get on. Even within one family group, most birds seem to spend a lot of time trying to make sure other birds don't get anywhere near the food. I've watched one parrot guard food diligently for minutes on end, with the result that nobody gets to eat any - not even him.

(Or her. They all do it. And yes, maintenance of the pecking order does involve quite a lot of pecking.)

Remember, all of that tweeting and chirping actually means "This is mine! This is mine! Bugger off! Bugger off! Wanna root? Wanna root?"

After he'd finished eating, the cockatoo repaired to the trellis again, and I pestered him some more. Make funny noises at cockies and they'll usually oblige you with some neck-bending.

This was shot from maybe four feet away; he didn't let me get really close.

5 Responses to “Birdies in motion”

  1. Mark Cocquio Says:

    Nice work! We'll make a twitcher out of you yet!

  2. stewpot Says:

    Another thing to do with cockies that I used to do when I was much less mature: scream at one. If you're lucky, they'll scream back about a squillion times louder than any human can manage.

  3. Moetop Says:

    What happens if your not lucky? They gouge out your eyes?

    On another note. I dont know if it is MY PC's video driver, googles vieo player, or the camera itself, but the video looks like it's seen through a bugs eye to me. It looks like the image is made up of a bunch of seperate squares. Maybe it's the compression used on the file?

  4. corinoco Says:

    I think you're onto something with your theory about cockies raising their crests when they have a thought; it's probably acting as a heatsink as their brains start to overheat.

  5. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Very late reply to Moetop: The dodgy video quality is because of Google Video's compression, which is less offensive than YouTube's (and takes up more bandwidth as a result), but still ain't pretty.

    To view an original .MP4-format clip, check out this post.

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