Angel is a bare-eyed cockatoo (Cacatua sauguinea normantoni) and one of four cockatoo species represented in Ann Taylor and Gregory Wilkie’s flock. Angel was the most recent member of the flock, arriving in February 2005, shortly before Ann and Greg moved to Anchorage.
In addition to being the most recent member of the flock, Angel is also the lightest, weighing only 320 grams [12 ounces]. She may be the lightest member of the flock, but has all of the personality of a Moluccan, or umbrella cockatoo in a compact size. Angel was hatched in April 1999, hand-raised, and socialized by Ronie Wheelwright [http//:www.roiniesloveofbirds.com, Sandy, Utah]. Being hand-raised and an only bird in her previous home, Angel does not know how to be a “bird.” Angel’s curiosity about Ann and Greg’s other cockatoo members in the flock allowed her to become quick friends with the two umbrellas. Allo-preening is a cockatoo social behavior that Angel did not learn during her hand-raising and socialization. Her umbrella friend quickly found out that Angel was not aware of cockatoo social customs, as she grabbed a beak-full of his feathers and yanked them out!
Angel has a big personality and a melodious voice, singing out, “Angel! Angel!” “Whatta gonna do with the pretty ‘too?” “Angel play peek-a-boo with you!” among other playful phrases. Angel is fully flighted and a skilled aviator, knowing take offs, high-speed turns, and amazing landings on heads, perches, curtain rods, and her playtop. Ann and Greg are currently working with Angel to fly and land in a specific place on command. This is a fun game that Angel enjoys practicing throughout the week.
Angel learned to be extremely independent in her previous home, where she occasionally had to find food and water on her own. If left alone in a room, Angel can quickly get into anything that appears to be a bag, box, or container that could hold food. One of Angel’s favorite sounds to make is the ring of a cellular phone and she is quite good at it. So much so, that for the first few days she was with Ann and Greg; they went running to answer their cell phones when Angel “rang.”
Cockatoos are the engineers of the avian world and Angel is a master engineer. Any item with bolts, nuts, carabineers, hooks, loops, or fasteners is quickly dispatched into its component parts in the bottom of her enclosure. Angel loves to untie simple knots of leather or cotton, spending hours untying each one and dropping the materials to the bottom of her enclosure. Tie square knots and Angel will use her sharp beak to snip through the leather or cotton and leave only tiny pieces that can not be reused for toy making.
Angel is a most-welcomed member of both the human and avian Taylor-Wilkie flock members.