G’day, mate! Allow me, if you will, to introduce you to one of the cutest of crested Canberrans, the comely Curly Cockatiel called Crescent. This bird hails from the only planned city in all of The Land Down Under (a river valley city that supposedly takes its name from the aboriginal term referring to the ‘hollow between a woman’s breasts’ — bizarre, eh?).
Crescent is what is known among cockatiel aficionados as an Opaline Cinnamon cockatiel, meaning that on different viewings under varied lighting, she may appear either pearly, white-gray, pale yellow, soft brown, warm gray or translucent white. (No wonder such cockatiels are prized so as pets, they go with any décor!) Despite her pale luminance, ornithologically she would be categorized among the ‘Dark Cockatoos’.
Crescent began life among the towering eucalyptus of suburban Canberra, capital city of the antipodean nation-continent of Australia. Her fledgling years were spent with her nestmates among the wooded suburbs of Tuggeranong, not far from the murky Murrumbidgee River, overlooking the duffers strolling the famed Murrumbidgee Golf Club of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). But she has now moved to L.A., into a spot directly in the limelight — thanks to the splendor of her uniquely and creatively curlicued crest!
Most cockatiels display a crest of a few dozen feathers at most. Their crests can be quite expressive, rising vertically from the skull to display excitement or surprise, and flattening against the brow to reflect anger, aggression or disapproval. These coy and outgoing birds can even convey flirtatiousness and amorous intent to one another by the way in which they configure their cranial plumage.
But you might say that Crescent takes signaling via sartorial semaphores to another level entirely! Favored from hatching with a fistful of frontal head feathers, she continuously preens them into this delicately coiled coiffure (except, of course, when she’s posing to have her picture taken for the cover of this society magazine, or that pet periodical, or the other local nature channel, which turns out to be quite often, actually). She is aided in her feather grooming by a unique salivary ingredient — sort of a hairspray spit, I guess — that gels, shapes, then glues each tightly coiled feather to its companion. Crest’s owner, Mrs. Mirelda Smytheson-Dunwoody (of the Murrumbidgee Dunwoodys) has taken to calling this crest creation the Corkscrew Tiffany, for its tightly coiled spirals and its spreading sculptural laciness. One might almost imagine each delicate spiral containing a tinted glass crystal!
This creative cockatiel (and her human minder and escort) have had quite a repertoire of designs at their behest. In capturing a record nine successive Blue Ribbons for Best in Show in the Murrumbidgee Domestic Birder’s and Companion Animal’s Annual Purebred Competition (MDBCAAPC), Crescent has been festooned with such cranial compositions as Fine Feathered Rainbows: Sunset over Hawaii, The Full Cleveland, Watery Wintersprites of Wonderland, Mad Max Meets His Match, What Didgeridoo That Hoodoo that You Do, and — lest we forget — A Plumed Homage to Abraham Lincoln the Rail-Splitter!
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