23 April 2006

Corella classic

I was reminded of this by tales from a Kiwi resident of a bird from there called a Kea or (in languages I am far from proficient in) a Mountain Parrot. For amusement, they strip things like the rubber door-seals out of quite large cars (I have seen video of one unsealng a solid door in a very few seconds).

I search-engined around for a while and found many vaguely-related-looking variants but none even claiming ownership. If you do in some way “own” the joke, please tell me in detail so that I might acknowledge a genuine author. What you read below was basically cobbled together from overhearing several (effectively random) versions spoken, and typed in ad-hoc. As far as I know, it is genuinely unique. It is “clean” (as in “not even slightly obscene” for anyone I’ve test-run it against) and almost child-safe (as often, this depends entirely on the child’s world-view, but none of mine (16g, 6b, 4g) have objected or are even gently uncomfortable).


Fred lived in a small Australian country town. He was well-liked and had many good friends but lived in a house by himself.

One day, Fred returned home to find a small bird-cage on his verandah, containing a healthy white corella [Australian-ish parrot about 50cm long, white in this case, curved orangeish beak, bluntish orangeish foot-claws]. He noted a card attached to one side of the cage and carefully read it: “My name is Chalky. I am a present from Sydney. Please look after me.”

The hand-writing matched — Sydney was a respectable and benevolent local (who picked up the name at home in Africa before emigrating) — so Fred picked up the cage and bore it carefully indoors, closing the door and releasing Chalky for familiarisation.

Corellas and the like are also generally benevolent and cheerful — but a long day in a tiny, boring cage on a hot verandah can sometimes undo (even reverse) this disposition, and it had done so. Cockatoos of all kinds (even galahs) can become very purposeful. Chalky flew up towards Fred’s face and purposefully beat away at him with wings.

Fred — understandably — took this amiss, so hurried out to his lounge to fetch some eagle gloves (seriously thick and mesh-reinforced leather gloves for raising sharp-edged eagles) and used those to gently fend off the corella. Soon this novelty waned, so Fred worked his way out to the kitchen, fetched some small wooden spatulas from a drawer, and used those to help fend more easily.

Soon this novelty also waned, so Fred shuffled across the kitchen, gently nudged the freezer lid open with a foot, and fended the corella into it (cool the bird, cool the temper — carefully used, this is a genuine bird-management technique, probably not so popular in, say, Canada or Siberia).

After a very few minutes, all was calm and quiet, which puzzled Fred because a moderately large bird like Chalky should take much longer to shed enough heat to calm right down. So Fred wedged a spatula past the freezere’s seal and used it to gently twist said seal open a few centimeters in the hope of seeing and learning something. Which he did.

A bright beak gently worked its way out from under the seal and delicately clasped the spatula, then a bird-foot with pointy orangeish punctuations followed it. Chalky gently, deftly (and apparently healthily) extracted himself from the freezer and perched on the spatula. Fred watched him with some trepidation, until Chalky bowed to Fred and humbly (to Fred’s astonishment) clearly and formally said “Sir, I apologize for my unseemly misbehaviour! Please forgive me!”

Fred left Chalky enspatulated, curious to see what else this evidently trained corella would do. Chalky then stood up, bowed down again and carefully said (to the now-dumbfounded Fred) “Sir, if I may be permitted to know, what did the chicken do?”


Leon Brooks said...

Galahs: watching a handful of the smaller cockatoos called Galahs play amongst themselves will quickly demonstrate why semi-rational Australians are often dubbed a “Galah”

Alpha said...

Maybe the chicken paid for Microsoft software...

Leon Brooks said...

...and it went on to freeze up?

Sorry-ish, just personal experience adding a little extra perspective.