Cocky was a real character, even a bit of an icon, scaring the innocent bystander by yelling and lifting his wings high in the air. Of course, he did that on purpose. Bold and cheeky, he loved getting attention and talking to people who visited his aviary in his familiar squawk: “Polly want a cracker.”
Children will remember him as the big white bird with yellow hair. When they least expected it, he would scream at the top of his lungs. When Bubs would be screaming, Cocky felt obliged to join in, though he could only come out with: “Ohhhh!”
Cocky was an excellent dancer, especially during the lockdown, when there was no one around. He was a digger extraordinaire and was often seen digging a hole looking for treasure.
In his younger days, Cocky visited retirement homes, clubs, schools and hospices when Peter Russell, curator of the Esplanade did bird talks about the history of the Esplanade and the Aviary.
He was a hit walking up and down the wooden seats outside the aviary and would have kids and their parents flocking from all over the place to have him on their shoulders and kids’ laps. Women had to be very careful as Cocky loved to grab their earrings in his cocky way.
Due to his age, Cocky had been battling arthritis in the knees, ankles and wings for some years. Most recently he has been showing signs of worsening and was taken to Wildbase Hospital for repeat radiographs. These showed that Cocky’s joints had collapsed and sadly, the extremely difficult decision was made that it was time to gently send him on his way across the rainbow.
Cocky, you will be greatly missed. You’ve brightened our days sitting chatting to yourself when you think no one is around or getting all fluffy and acting cute when you got a good head scratch.
Fly unburdened over the rainbow bridge until we meet again!
Cocky the sulphur-crested cockatoo hatched in 1970 and was owned by Eric Bainbridge from an early age. After Eric died and his wife had to go to a retirement home, Cocky was given to Peter Russell, Aviary curator at the Esplanade in 2002.