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Thursday, May 21, 2009
Avian Acrobats

By Laura Doering
Join in on Laura's fun and experiences of bird ownership, and share in her adventures as the editor of BIRD TALK, the world’s most widely read pet bird magazine, in Wayward Feathers.

Chris Davis, BIRD TALK’s “Heart To Heart” columnist, just forwarded me a crazy photo of a greylag goose “whiffling.”

“Whiffling?” you ask.

Apparently, whiffling involves the bird twisting and turning to spill air from its wings to slow down before landing. I haven’t heard the phrase before. This bird was trying to whiffle in strong wind and ended up flying upside down, but its neck and head are twisted right side up.

I’m not sure if parrots are capable of whiffling, but it did inspire me to come up with terminology to describe some of the acrobatics I’ve seen my flock do at home:

1. Auto-Ollieing: This is when Ollie automatically flies back to me whenever he thinks I’m going to perch him on anything other than myself.

2. Phantom-wind stream: This is when my cockatiel Gracie suddenly takes off flying when I’m returning him to his cage, as if to suggest, “A wind came out of nowhere and whisked me away to the curtain rod … again.”

3. Bermuda Island-hopping: This is when my cockatiel disappears for a while whenever a mirror or shiny object is in his flight path. (Fortunately, I can usually locate him by honing in on his incessant whistling.)

Have any terms for your avian acrobats? Do share!

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