i 0 10,ilip,
LIFE OF A COCKATOO.
BY AUNT HANNAH.
HE COCKATOO is a bird which, doubtless, many of my readers have
seen in the Museum of Natural History at Central Park. But, for
the benefit of those who have not, I will give a picture of one. He is
a very beautiful bird of the parrot species, white as snow, with wings
S lined with sulphur-colbred feathers, and a crest of the same color, which,
when he is quiet, lies down close to his head, the curve at the end of the long
feather turned up like a little curl at the back of his neck; this, when he is
excited, stands erect, and gives him a very martial if not dignified appearance.
This species of Cockatoo is a native of Australia, and the one, part of whose
history I am am about to relate to you, was given me a few years ago when I
was living in that far off country.
He was about four years old when he was given me, and was very well-
trained. He knew a number of comical tricks, and had quite a large vocabu-
lary, though I am forced to say that some of his words were not just such as
are suitable for polite society. It was our hope that the associations of a re-
fined home would cause him to forget the bad words. Our hopes were, to a /
great extent, realized, for, after the first year, he very seldom swore, or said
anything very naughty; never, indeed, unless he got very angry.
Before we left Australia we lived for a while in a cottage in Collingwood,
one of the suburbs of the City of Melbourne. At evening we used to some-
times sit in the porch, after the long hot, summer day, and usually the bird
would be with us. He was very peculiar in his likes and dislikes, and had
some curious ways of showing them. He would sit on the rail of my settee,
perfectly quiet, his eyes half closed, and the feathers around his bill ruffled up
till they looked like big mutton-chop whiskers, until one of his antipathies
came along. Then, just as the person got past, he would swoop down from
his perch, and glide close up to the heels of his imaginary enemy and give a
couple of quick barks like a very angry dog. I have seen a poor old woman
frightened nearly out of her wits by him in this way, but by the time she had
given her little scream and the long jump she was sure to take before she
looked around for the dog, the bird was safe back on his perch, muffled up in
his whiskers, and crooning contentedly to himself, "Cocky's a pretty, pretty,
pretty, boy; Cocky's a good old boy, ha-ha-ha-ha."
2 ADVENTURES IN THE LIFE OF A COCKATOO.
One evening we had quite a party of friends visiting us, and, after supper,
Cockie was as usual admitted to the drawing-room. He knew very well that
his being allowed to remain depended entirely on his good behavior, that is,
as we say to children, on his "being seen and not heard;" so he conducted
himself very well, only making an occasional remark to his master or me. But
late in the evening the conversation turned upon a subject which was just at
that time interesting all our citizens, and gradually from being general, the
argument centered with two of our friends, one of whom became so interested
that he made quite a speech on the matter. As he spoke he grew quite excited,
so that he arose and stood up, resting his hands part of the time on the back
of his chair, and, as he continued to speak, growing quite vehement, gesturing
first with one hand and then with the other, and sometimes throwing both
hands above his head. I should think his remarks must have lasted seven or
eight minutes. Of course we were all attentive, but none was more so than
the bird, who was perched on the back of a chair. He eyed the speaker
closely all the time he was haranguing, and once or twice chuckled a little to
himself, as much as to say, "Now I'll beat you at your own game, see if I
don't!" And the moment our visitor ceased, before any one else had a chance
to utter a word, Mr. Cockatoo straightened himself up, threw up his crest, and
commenced. He said very few intelligible words, but he imitated every change
of voice, every gesture of the previous speaker. He threw up one wing and
appealed, spread out the other and denounced, opened both out wide and threw
them up, so that their tip feathers almost met over his head, and proclaimed
vociferously. Then he folded them down and spoke in low persuasive tones
for a minute, and so on till he had, so to speak, kept the floor about as long as
the "other gentleman." Then, clearing his throat, he laughed, "Ha-ha-ha-
ha! Ain't Cockie a good boy?"
The effect was very funny. We had all been very quiet during the first
oration, but during the second it was so hushed you could have heard a pin
drop, and, at the close of his oration, the speaker was applauded with shouts
of laughter, in which even the gentleman he had burlesqued joined.
When we came home to America we brought our pet with us, and at sea in
fine weather we used often to take him out of his cage for a run on the deck.
One day I took him out; there was a fresh breeze blowing, and we were sailing
about ten knots an hour. The bird was very glad to get out, and, of course,
expected to have his usual race with me. I started from the cabin door, walk-
ing about as fast as the bird could run, towards the main mast. The game
was for him to catch me by the skirt before I got to the goal, and he under-
stood it as well as I did. Once, twice, we tried it, and I took care to let the
ambitious little fellow win. The third time I went a little too fast; and, think-
ing he was going to be beaten, poor Cockie rose on his wings, for he well knew
he could fly faster than he could run, when lo! a gust of wind caught him and
carried him forward and over the taffrail, and into the great cruel sea!
You should have seen what a rushing and shouting there was. We were
sailing so fast that the bird fell behind rapidly, and as he could not swim, like
a web-footed bird, we knew he could keep above water only until his feathers
The Baldwin Library
-1 ;-. k`,
n2- !F .-
77 Y n-
`.- . ......
*- +.,- - I -- -'=C_ -- --."
-S-.._; .. .
4- --- -
-----.....-. --.- -- -
S'.. r-\\ ,2 +_ ---=-
'.. ...' .-:- --A =-- -- _.-_- .- Z _--
-.. -- .-. .- : A r_.- .- _._ _V
S. .. -
-- -.j--4-J-"G---, '=-= .-`
ADVENTURES IN THE LIFE OF A COCKATOO. 3
Were wet through. As he touched the water I heard him cry, "Poor Cockie!
SPoor old Cockie!" And then I cried, too, and begged the Captain to send a
boat for him. Had a man fallen overboard there could scarcely have been
more commotion than there was. In less time a good deal, than it has taken
to write this, the ship was put about, so that we should not sail away from the
bird, and the captain's gig was manned and sent out, under command of the
First Mate, for the poor bird who cried so pitifully as he went into the cold sea.
The Captain, my husband, and I, with others, stood on the quarter deck, and
watched the chase, till the bird grew a mere speck on the waves, and faded
from view, and then until the boat, too, grew so small that we could scarcely see it.
I took the Captain's glass and looked after them, and could see Mr. Kelly, the mate,
standing up in the gig, looking through his glass out over the sea in search of
the bird. Then I grew discouraged, and was very much afraid that some shark
had dragged him under water, or that his feathers had grown too heavy and
he had sunk beneath the waves. But in a moment I saw the boat rowing
swiftly in another direction, then I saw Mr. Kelly stoop over and pick some-
thing from the water, and, at the same time, I saw a great gull or booby"
circling low over the water, as if about to pounce on something. Then the
boat came towards the ship, and soon that good Mr. Kelly clambered over the
.ilde and took from under his pilot-coat my dear birdie looking very miserable
and dejected. Mr. Kelly said that the poor fellow was nearly sinking when
they got to him, and the "booby" that I had seen was just making for him,
intending to dine on him, and was somewhat disposed to fight for possession
of him, too. But Mr. Kelly got the bird, and, as he put him inside his jacket
to keep him warm, the poor thing said, Poor old Cockie! Cockie sick to-
day. Cockie all wet!"
Before this the Cockatoo would pay very little attention to any one save his
master and myself; but always after, while we were on the ship, he showed
his gratitude to Mr. Kelly. He would at any time go from either of us to him,
and occasionally would show his affection and approval in a more boisterous
manner than was agreeable. In the Captain's and Second Mate's watch he
would mind his own business, and sit huddled up on his perch inattentively,
no matter how many orders were given, or how much hurry-skurry there was
of sailors on deck. But in the First Mate's watch it was quite another thing.
The minute his voice was heard giving an order, up went the Cockatoo's crest,
and running from end to end of his perch and thrusting his head through the
bars of his cage, he would reiterate the order with the greatest vehemence. I
regret to say that sometimes, in the intense excitement of a squall or storm,
Mr. Kelly would become somewhat profane, and that the Cockatoo appeared
to think he must testify his gratitude by repeating every curse in its exact
tones. The confusion made by having two First Mates on deck at once, and
the injury to the bird's morals, from Mr. Kelly's example, very soon induced
us to keep Master Cockie in the cabin during Kelly's watch.
Mr. Kelly was very fond of having a cup of hot coffee at four o'clock in the
morning, and had a rather rough and imperious, as well as vulgar, manner of
abjuring the colored cook to get it ready for him. My husband usually was
ADVENTURES IN THE LIFE OF A COCKATOO.
up at that hour, and would take a cup of coffee with the watch and bring in a
mug of coffee and sea-biscuit for the bird, who always breakfasted on it. Once
or twice we heard him muttering over something that sounded like Kelly's
hard words, but he soon apparently forgot them. But, after we had been
home nearly two years, I engaged an old black auntie, who had lived with my
mother when I was a little girl, as cook. It was cold weather when she came,
and for warmth and comfort I had made Cockie's home in the kitchen. Becky
arrived in the evening, and early next morning went down to the kitchen to
prepare breakfast. Imagine her astonishment, while she was building the fire
in the range, to hear a very rough voice close by her call out, Come now, hurry
up, you black son of a sea-cook, hurry up and get me my coffee. Come, you
nigger, I want my breakfast." When I came down stairs that morning, Becky
met me with a very odd look on her comely black face, and said, "Look here,
Miss Hannah, what sort of a parr't do you call this?"
"He's a Cockatoo Parrot," said I. "I guess he's a devil, too" said auntie.
"How did he know I was black? And he swears awful-leastwise he called
bad names. I know I'm black, and maybe I orten't to speak mymind so plain;
but, Miss Hannah, I don't think a critter like that is fit to have in a Christian
family. I don't think you and Mr. Henry got no good by going to Australia.
But Becky grew to be as fond of Cockie as any of us. After she got used
to him I think she rather encouraged him in his buffoonery, for once or twice I
actually heard her trying to teach him to say some slang phrases that happened
just then to be in vogue, and I know she succeeded. For one day our parish
minister called upon us, and the door of the piazza having been left open,
Master Cockie, hearing my voice in the parlor, walked in. The good Doctor
had never met this distinguished stranger from the antipodes before, and I felt
a little curious, as I heard the bird pattering along the hall, to know how they
would greet each other. The Reverend Doctor sat facing the door. Cockie
paused a minute on the threshold, looking very innocent, then pucked up his
crest, and said, "How d'ye do, old feller? Stay awhile, Boss." I'll warrant
the Doctor hadn't been so disrespectfully addressed since first he wore a white
cravat. He who appeared to think he had performed the hospitalities of the
occasion in a very satisfactory manner, waddled across the floor, complacently
climbed upon the gentleman's knee, and presented his poll to be scratched.
Truth obliges me to confess that the Doctor did not seem to appreciate the bird,
and when he, having made a remark to me, the bird interposed before I could
reply, telling him to "dry up and scratch away," I felt obliged to remove him
to the piazza, and shut the door, the Doctor remarking as I returned that
"these talking birds always seemed to him rather demoniacal," from which it
will be seen that his first impressions of my pet and Aunt Becky's, were
something akin, though differently expressed.
It would make my story too long to tell you half the amusing things I re-
member about my bird. So I will tell you that after we had him about eight
years, the poor fellow met with an accident and died, and we buried him under
a rose bush in the garden.
TIFULLY ILLUSTRATED W OIL COLORS.,
FAWeit: QuEg*) size; compiled from x8op, Aunt L4tle"s StorY oks.
Lftl)ntaine, and the RmsFaa of tho cele- TkE WSWNTEITED OUCKS.
_bratd M Some df these are old and
favored 4equalDtancea, while vt)1er13 ROBIYOX CRUSOE,
herepuWished for the first thn6 in this
country. Fwbellishedwithhandsome full-
tradobs, pAnted in colors, ftom Cinderella Series.
Stephens aud mhem, Nos. i
us 'ready., BEAUTY AND THE SEAST,
ADVENTURES OF A C()CKAT0.0,
lour"Iry $1hyM08 With. numerous TIM GIANT wiTniwu GOJIDW IIAII,
colored illustrations: from designg by'
84phens. Pfice 2rrceuts.
Little' Ww*6rs A History of so;ue of
-es. that Labor. Aunt Lutievp A, B, C,. OYANIMALS.
Go&s Little Creatui Witfiout
hands B' T,. C Beard. Magnifieently ALPHABET ONLEGS.
.11, 6ilted I I I ..
us It1h numerous full-yage pictures, Comic ALPHABET.
ted' oil -colors, from desigus,.y. Beard.
quarto Wze. Ok that has
Price $1. A bd
r6oeived'the most flattering, commend4lons
of- the preis. it is written I# a style that, Aunt Lutie's S4ow Duop A: C.'
wm meet the comprehension land enchaln
the attentioix, of, wv reader, ld oryoung.
tdo Fanis The Adventiyes of WAO STOLi My, lfiT
VftleF fasy.wth heWaterlviips. Price
Little, Qhgrleyls, Visits. Mother Coose Melodles ancF,"
HAZ ELDALE, ItaFeather6d Help, OthvvRhymes. simouette',11j"41"
HAZEMA Lawn Pets, rations.
WHAT HE SAW IN: CENTRAL PARK. Seri" Noo. J..
(4to, Singly or In one. Book.) C60K ROWN.
HOVSH THAT JkM BUILT. JoFIN GILP11c
SCHOOL I)AYS. THREE CHRIST-
MAS BOXES., MERRY CHIMES OF
ClimDURN IN THIC W00.
(4to, Singly or in one Book.) SeHes 4TO" 3, or -fhke C;ald Series.
KING OF THE W001* :'Oo6 I c
Merr'y 6hristmas Series.-4to- BEE ANP z IjG". D.
T4k Kpio :13;
COCK ROBIN. TaE Spnom';n. GIRORNM' Truizz Wign,
4:1VIERRY CIIRISTMAS. Bizurx, TuE 1)1ruuw Bjup. MFsTIm Fox.
GARDS,,ALPHA'BET S, DOWN CARDS, GREck
-CARID a BOARDS TOY )41",EYAl
'TITE GRFCTA2V- PHALANX, a ratWeak Gonte
R. SHUGG, & CO.i PUBLISHERS NEWY10A I
irxikeo accoralwto Act of Gbnmw, in ffiey&r j0,2"bi It. sauGa C I. 77ift'. conp