More about Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Yesterday I had a comment on an earlier post that made some interesting, informative and entertaining things to say about the behaviour of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. In part, Scot was questioning my statement that this species was a bit flighty and hard to photograph. With his permission I quote his comments in full.

I’m surprised that you say that Sulphur Cresteds are hard to approach, Trevor. There’s a wild flock in the centre of Sydney that live in the botanic garden and it’s quite easy to wander around watching them dismantling various trees there. You can get quite close if you are careful.

They also use this as a base to invade much of the urban inner city area – some people feed them off their high rise balconies. I lived in Sydney’s inner east until very recently and they have, for the last 15 years or more, been a fixture of life in Woolloomooloo. Screeching their heads off and engaging aerobatic flying and tourist harassment and everything all year long.

In the last place I lived, in Potts Point, they used to regularly settle upon the trees in my street and proceed to demolish them for their fruit (which I note the Currawongs also ate). They will also attack human artefacts, such as the one we tried chasing off our neighbour’s window sill after it took a liking to shredding the fly screen. I guess living in centre of the big city they are used to humans completely. This one just looked me up and down, calculated that I couldn’t actually physically reach it, and then calmly returned to shredding activities.

They also once attacked a big foam spider effigy the museum had stuck on the front to advertise a spider exhibition they had on. I think they do this sort of stuff for pure entertainment value. They are hooligans and vandals and I love ’em!


Thanks to Scot for permission to post his comments.

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6 Responses to “More about Sulphur Crested Cockatoos”

  1. Trish says:

    Please can you help.
    I am required to re-locate for work. This will be an 8 hour car trip for Gus my Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.
    Is there anything that I could feed Gus that may help to reduce the stress this travel will have on him.
    ie is there any sedative that can be given that will help to settle him for the trip.
    Thank you.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi there Trish,

    I am sorry but I have no idea of what you could do to minimize the stress on you cockatoo, apart from making sure there is a dark cover over the cage.

    It might be worth checking with your local vet or pet shop or even the local bird club for advice. Even your local wildlife carers might have a suggestion or at least a few hints.

    Sorry I couldn’t help any more than that.

  3. Sheila says:

    Hi Trish,
    I care for rescued wild cockatoos in Australia. I’ve heard that certain natural & homeopathic remedies can help, but would not recommend any of them as what is good for a human can sometimes injure or even kill a bird, since birds’ dietary needs and even digestive systems are vastly different than ours. For natural remedies and to ensure the diet is complete, I recommend you supply a handful of fresh grass daily, preferably overgrown and seeded at the top, and also sprinkle scrapings of cuttlefish on your bird’s seed every day. Cuttlefish is an inexpensive, natural source of calcium for cockatoos. Grass (when it is seeded on top) supplies many vitamins cockies need and they eat it in the wild. You can buy cuttlefish (it’s powdery and hard, not at all like FISH – it is a shell) at most pet food stores. Digging up & eating fresh clover roots appears to have a relaxing effect on adult male cockatoos during mating seasons, too, so perhaps there is something in the clover roots that will relax Gus. You can certainly try it. Maybe even a few drops of clover honey. My mentor has had good results with small amounts of natural honey for sick and injured parrots. Gus will need things to chew and a stable branch to grip in his travel cage to feel secure. Fruit trees are good for branches – never use evergreen or sap tree branches. I’m not sure covering your pet is always the best idea, it depends on the bird. Some of my cockatoos feel more comfortable if they can see me while I’m driving. You can strap him in the front passenger seat in his carry cage. I believe you’ll find as soon as the road is smooth, your speed steady and the turns gentle, your cocky will begin relaxing on his own. They don’t mind motion at all as long as it’s not sudden or extreme. Best of luck to you with your move and your cockatoo!

  4. Trevor says:

    Thanks for this advice Sheila. It’s an area where I feel very inadequate due to lack of experience.

  5. Greg says:

    Hi Trish, we used to have a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo called Gus! He belonged to my wife’s father, who passed away in the late ’90s. When we had kids (about seven years ago), we got my wife’s brother to temporarily look after Gus for us for a couple of months. After a short time, the sister-in-law *gave Gus away* without asking us!! I was wondering if your Gus was the same one – I’m not looking to take Gus away from you, but my wife was very attached to Gus and I was hoping to locate Gus again 🙂


  6. leon says:

    Hi there,
    I live in the central west and five days ago a Sulphur Crested cockatoo came to visit. He has not left. He looks very healthy and flies off to wherever big birds go at night. Problem is I fed him. He now wakes me up each morning trying to demolish the cat cage and the wooden windows. If I leave the door open he just walks in and takes over. I have to get the broom and push him out. He likes to have a go at toes and fingers. He prunes everything in the garden and is trying to remodel the wooden balcony. He stands at the windows and peers in. The cats are afraid to go out. I think he must have been a pet. Should I ignore him and hope he will eventually go away?

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