George is a well-known and much-loved resident of Alexandra Park Zoo but soon he won't be the only Sulphur-Crested cockatoo on the block.
The popular character will have a new play mate when his female counterpart is introduced next week.
Coming from Flying High Bird Park in Apple Tree Creek, the female cockatoo will be added as a new resident in Bundaberg to provide company to George.
Bundaberg Regional Council's parks and gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said it would be a positive change for the Bundy boy.
“The zoo staff are hoping that by providing George with another companion of the same species, it will assist to promote positive welfare outcomes for him,” he said.
“The female cockatoo has been in quarantine and will be on display on Monday of next week.
“She will initially be housed in the aviary next to George for a period of time so they can see and hear each other and get acquainted over time, prior to a trial introduction.”
It's been a while since George has had a companion and zoo staff are excited to see how he reacts to a female close by.
“If everything appears to be going well, staff will introduce the two birds into a spare aviary to avoid any territorial aggression, and closely monitor them,” Cr Honor said.
“If the introduction is smooth, they will remain together and if not, they will be housed in separate aviaries that are adjacent to each other so that they can still talk to one another and socialise.”
Owners of Flying High Bird Park Ian and Tanya Dodds said they knew their female cockatoo would be in good hands at Alexandra Park Zoo.
“The main reason why we wanted to help out George is because cockatoos are flock animals and need to have company,” Ian said.
‘Plus, we have 27 cockatoos at our park that have either been donated or come from all sorts of backgrounds so we are happy to help out the zoo with one of our own.”
Ian said the female cockatoo had been at the park when he purchased the business three years ago.
“As for her age, I would be guessing she is about 15 to 20 years old,” he said.
“Cockatoos can live to 100 so she definitely isn't an old girl.
“She is quite affectionate and would often cuddle up to us, she loves attention.”
Ian said cockatoos were highly intelligent birds and not only liked to mimic sounds, they could also learn to dance and could become quite emotional.
“They can be very bipolar at times,” he laughed.
“They sing and dance a lot, the birds we have here often imitate phone calls that they hear.
“One thing that we want people to appreciate is that these birds each have their own individual personalities and are exceptionally smart.”
The female cockatoo, which is yet to be named, will be officially unveiled to the public on Monday at Alexandra Park Zoo.