Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Mr. Cheeky Bird on his favorite perch

I read a newspaper article the other day about Parrots in a Bird Refuge who were raising money by painting.  Yes!  Parrots were actually producing bird art, brandishing paint brushes and using their claws and feathers to create saleable paintings.  The paintings are on canvas and will be sold at the World Parrot Refuge in Coombs, on Vancouver Island, in order to raise money for the centre which shelters birds who are discarded or mistreated by former owners.

The owner is quoted as saying, "I think the cockatoos are going to be the best artists."

That got me thinking.  I have a very clever cockatiel, Mr Cheeky Bird.  He loves getting into things.  So what if I brought out my paints and some canvas sheets and let him try his claws and feathers at art too.  I bet he'd really enjoy the experience.  And maybe we can eventually hold an art show to display his unique creations.

The parrots at the shelter started with group painting sessions but they got a little feathery with paint splashing all over.  So now the parrots work in pairs or individuals.  Apparently they have their favorite colours a well.  Two umbrellas cockatoos, Bailey and Peaches, favour reds and yellows.  Bailey uses her tail to create impressionist influences. Peaches uses the brushes to throw paint on the canvas. Nickey and Sidney, two Moluccas cockatoos with pink feathers, seem to like the blue and green tones. I'm curious now to discover what colours Mr. Cheeky Bird would prefer.

Of course the paints are non-toxic so there's no danger of the birds inhaling or tasting something that might be harmful.  They have baths following the painting sessions as they love using their feathers as brushes. 

I'm honestly curious to find out if cockatiels are as talented at art as their larger cousins the cockatoo.

The Shelter hopes their bird-brained paintings will go on sale to help the finances of the centre and get the refuge out of the red.  I think it's a truly innovative and creative idea.  Apparently they are the only place in North America that does this.  The World Parrot Refuge houses more than 800 birds.

My handsome cockatiel, Cheeky.  Do you think he might show artistic abilities?