Bird of the Month

Meet Kramer, the Moluccan Cockatoo

This week, Kramer can be seen practicing his ‘scary face’ for Halloween, but it’s all for show. He is one of the most intelligent birds at the Bloedel Conservatory and he loves to entertain visitors!

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Kramer, the Moluccan Cockatoo, practicing his ‘scary-face’ for Halloween at the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo © V. Earle

Kramer has a large vocabulary and is not shy about letting you know it! He says things like “Hello, Good Morning”, “Kramer is a good bird” (often followed by “Kramer is a bad bird”), “What is that?”, “Peek-a-boo”, “I’m a bird”, “Let’s party”, “Surprise!”,  and “Good night”.  In total, Kramer knows approximately 40 phrases. He will ask “Up, up, up?” when he wants to go for a walk, and as you leave at closing time, you will usually be serenaded with a heartfelt “Bye-Bye”! Sometimes his language can even get as colourful as the plants at the Conservatory! Watch the spotlight video at CTV Vancouver: ‘The Last Word: Dirty Bird Talking’ – that showcases the language he likely learned while living at a University frat house.

Kramer, at only 14 years of age, had a number of different homes before he was adopted at the Bloedel Conservatory. This is an unfortunate reality for many parrots due to their long life spans. Cockatoos and mid-size parrots like African Greys can live approximately 60 years, while larger macaws can live over 80 years of age. This makes living in numerous homes a reality for many parrots as they often out live their care-givers. When Kramer first arrived at the Conservatory, he was a very scared and untrusting bird – ready to bite anybody at any time. But the staff at Bloedel knew he was special and extremely intelligent. They patiently worked with him everyday until he knew he was in a safe and loving environment. Now Kramer is a well-adjusted, friendly bird and one of the best known ‘celebrities’ under the dome.

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Kramer greeting visitors at the Bloedel Conservatory

Moluccan Cockatoos (Cacatua moluccensis), also known as Salmon-crested Cockatoos, are the largest of the white cockatoos measuring 20 inches (50 cm) in height. Females are larger than males and have light brown or burgundy eyes. Male eye colour is dark brown or black. These cockatoos weigh approximately 2 lbs (.9 kg) and have pale salmon-pink feathers with light yellow on the undersides of the wings. They use their large crest to express emotions such as excitement, fear or curiosity. Like many cockatoos, they have a white powder coating from powder down feathers that help them with preening.

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Kramer sees something interesting at the Bloedel Conservatory

Moluccans are native to Seram, Indonesia (South Moluccas aka Spice Islands). They were also once common on the Sapara, Naruku and Ambon Islands, but development has destroyed these breeding populations. They are an endangered species in the wild, listed on Appendix I of CITES since 1989. The Bloedel Conservatory works with a local non-profit organization called GreyHaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary that specializes in parrot rescue, rehabilitation and adoption. All the birds at Bloedel have either been directly donated to the Conservatory from homes that can no longer keep them or have been adopted from the GreyHaven Sanctuary.

Stop in to meet Kramer, and all of the beautiful birds, at the Bloedel Conservatory. They can’t wait to see you!

Winter hours: 10am – 5pm everyday

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the care and feeding of the birds at the Bloedel Conservatory, please visit CanadaHelps.org and select #6: ‘Bloedel’s Flock’

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