Pearl is, well, a bird.
But then again, you’ve probably already figured that out (if not, see helpful clue above). 🙂
He is not a she (we thank our friends at the National Cockatiel Society for this breaking news…and for the energizing new full-time hobby of learning to call Pearl-the-girl-bird Pearl-the-boy-bird.)
While we are on the subject of nots, he is also not a mammal (his Mommy had to do extensive research on Wikipedia to figure that out). Rather, Pearl belongs to the class known as “Aves”.
Aves are warm-blooded, feathered, winged, bipedal, vertebrate, egg-laying tetrapods.
He belongs to the same family of birds into which his older, larger, louder cousins, the Cockatoos, are grouped – Cacatuidae. I cannot pronounce that and have no plans to try.
However, as befits the royalty of Class Aves, Pearl gets his own genus (Nymphicus) and species (hollandicus). He has to share both of these with other cockatiels…..eventually….and they are even now forming a line to be ready when Pearl is done with them.
Other important facts about the King of the Cacatuidae (I am seriously sensing an avian remake of “Avatar” here):
Age: Timeless. I hope. (Typical lifespan is 20 years but the oldest known cockatiel was 36!)
Length: 10 inches (head to tail, not including crest).
Width: 2.5 inches (across wing blades).
Wingspan: Getting Aves to open wings, hold still, and get measured should be an Olympic sport. Which means we may never know.
Weight: 75 grams…give or take a few grams.
Color: Grey and white.
Favorite color: After grey and white? Green.
Favorite specific shade of green: Houseplant green.
Favorite food: Millet. Waffles.
Other favorite foods: Anything else my mom cooks or that other people are eating and not sharing.
Favorite shreddables: Library books and expensive store-bought books (not necessarily in that order). Magazines – and not the ads. Aves prefers the meaty editorials that I am looking forward to reading. Wicker – couches, baskets, and anything else not designed to come into regular contact with small, sharp beaks.
Favorite activities: Shredding (see above). Admiring himself in reflective surfaces. Showers. Drinking water out of the faucet. “Typing” on my laptop. Shrieking. Flinging seed. Neck scratches. “Singing” along to my soothing meditation music (at which point it is neither soothing nor meditative and not really worth the $25 I paid for the CD….).
Daily schedule: Rise – whenever Mommy gets up. If Mommy gets up too early (unlikely but it has been known to happen) Aves will hiss and try to bite when the cage cover is removed. All morning activities then revolve around Aves until cage changing, feeding, a shower (if desired) and location of a preferred perch is accomplished. Aves, exhausted by all the attention, then naps. For hours. Upon waking, spa services (neck massage, feather scratching) are usually required. Attendant must be prompt to avoid shrieking. Attendant must not leave Aves’ line-of-sight view at any time – and definitely not the premises – while Aves is awake….or not awake. Bedtime is whenever Aves gets more tired than an extended nap can deal with – usually around sundown in summer, and 8pm in winter.
Vocabulary: Shrieking. What sometimes sounds vaguely like “pretty birdie”. And, of course, the special chirps Grandma taught him.
Favorite perches: Window ledges. Shower door. Bathroom bucket. Near anything reflective. Any location within shredding distance of green houseplants, wicker items, or crispy paper. Right on top of waffles, pizza, or anything else delicious that someone else is (was) intending to consume. The small tree (Grandma). The tall tree (Grandpa).