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-
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.