Fred the cockatoo — the infamous sulphur-crested cockatoo currently living at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary — has just turned 100!
Well, turned “at least 100” anyways, as the that number is a very conservative estimate. He could actually be considerably older than 100, going by what is currently known.
The cockatoo’s birthday was actually recognized (not that said recognition is that important..) by the UK Monarchy via a special letter from Buckingham Palace.
While it’s an open question whether Fred the cockatoo cares at all about such a letter (I’m guessing not), the receipt of said letter does say something about what the human world thinks of the 100 year old bird.
While its long been known that some birds — such as cockatoos — are quite smart, and can live quite long, I doubt that many people you ask would guess that some of them can live for well over a century.
More generally though, in the wild, cockatoos typically live into their 40s to 50s — before age related decline starts to set in (and, generally, subsequent death).
In captivity that number skews higher, with 70-80 being considered old, but somewhat normal.
There are always exceptions though — as it stands now, the oldest known cockatoo in the world lived to be 125 years of age.
With what’s known about Fred specifically — he’s thought to have been born right around the time of the start of the First World War. He was kept as a family pet for a number of decades, until his last owner dies away and left him to the wildlife sanctuary. He’s been there for at least the past 20 years.
According to his carers, he doesn’t like people entering his enclosure (a bit like the spacial issues people who have spent long periods of time in solitary confinement have I would guess…), likes to pass sticks to visitors through his cage wires, and possesses a good vocabulary for the species.
Hopefully this centennial birthday serves as a reminder to those that would consider taking one of these wild animals as a pet that it’s a lifetime responsibility. They live a very long time.
Image Credit: Screen Capture