Appellate Judge James A. Stewart wants to learn to speak cockatoo.
"Every cell is engineered for flight. They form a language all their own."
After watching Parrot Confidential, I've decided not to adopt a cockatoo. It's not the biting, the constant noise, or the emotional neediness I'm concerned about. It's the fact that a cockatoo tends to live to be eighty or ninety, which means that unless you adopt when you're a kid, they'll outlive you. I just don't know anyone who wants to inherit a cockatoo.
Even the birds that don't outlive their people can end up homeless; Parrot Confidential talks to sanctuary operators who take in a lot of homeless cockatoos. "Not everybody's cracked up to own one," a bird sanctuary operator tells us. Apparently, the birds became popular back when Baretta featured a cockatoo co-star, but not for too long, since the biting, noise, and neediness weren't everyone's cup of tea.
The emphasis in Parrot Confidential, a single episode of PBS's Nature, is on storytelling. There's a re-enactment (at least I hope it is) of an illegal exotic bird transaction, the camera on the hands to avoid identifying the participants.
Picture and sound quality are satisfactory for the recent documentary, but there are no extras.
Parrot Confidential tells some interesting stories about the very intelligent birds. I suspect that, at under an hour, it just scratches the surface, though. It's a strong entry in the Nature series, and libraries may want it for their collections. As of this writing, you can stream the whole episode and several more for free at PBS online, which would be the recommended option if you're curious.
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