Who’s a clever cocky?

Owner of Sala­manca’s Side­walk Gallery, Ann Por­teus’ home in South Ho­bart is also home to a menagerie of an­i­mals, in­clud­ing three large birds, sev­eral her­itage hens and a scrappy lit­tle dog called Sandy. One of her beloved birds is Ebony Rose, a 32- year-

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Luke Bow­den Any­one in­ter­ested in shar­ing their best friends’ sto­ries can email luke. bow­den@news.com.au

Where did you get Ebony Rose from?

Ebony Rose came to live with us in 1987, when she was six years old. She was board­ing at a Parks and Wildlife shel­ter for in­jured and mis­treated birds. She was a wild bird but was in­jured ( she can no longer fly).

It’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause I don’t wholly agree with the con­cept of keep­ing a bird cap­tive, or breed­ing birds to put them in a box, so for me this was a way to cir­cum­vent that con­flict be­cause Ebony Rose couldn’t be re­leased into the wild, she needed a home and she’s never caged un­less she’s trav­el­ling long dis­tances.

And Ebony Rose isn’t just good com­pany for you at the gallery?

No, she’s also the gallery’s in­valu­able se­cu­rity guard.

There’s an in­for­ma­tion sheet be­low where she’s usu­ally perched in the store and it states she is the gal­ley’s se­cu­rity guard and most cus­tomers think it’s a joke.

How­ever, if she spots any­one act­ing in an un­savoury man­ner she makes a very unique sub­tle but high- pitched noise. The po­ten­tial thieves don’t no­tice it but I do and then Ebony Rose will point with her beak to­wards the per­pe­tra­tors.

Cus­tomers that come into the store must take a keen in­ter­est in her?

The in­for­ma­tion sheet next to where she’s perched clearly states that one of her favourite hob­bies is bit­ing at pok­ing fin­gers, re­gard­less some cus­tomers feel the need to try and touch her, al­though gen­er­ally she’ll just push their hand away with her claw.

Gen­er­ally, Ebony Rose is a very quiet bird so it’s not sur­pris­ing for peo­ple to walk in, look around and then walk out with­out ever hav­ing no­ticed her sit­ting right next to the front door.

I sup­pose with all the or­na­men­tal and ex­otic things in the gallery there’s no sur­prise that I hear the comment, “Oh! The bird is real?”

What’s great about hav­ing Ebony Rose?

This isn’t specifi c to just Ebony Rose but all an­i­mals. It’s great learn­ing how in­tel­li­gent and adapt­able an­i­mals are.

We [ hu­mans] al­ways tend to think we’re num­ber one in the an­i­mal king­dom but own­ing some­one like Ebony Rose just high­lights how we’re not any bet­ter.

There’s a lot we can learn from an­i­mals.

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