In addition to the novels I have out, there are a couple independent short stories that have made it into anthologies. One of those is “The Hat,” which appears in Seventh Star Press‘s anthology Hero’s Best Friend.
“The Hat” stars a cockatoo named Cloud who has to steal a hat that has the proof of a spy’s guilt hiding in the headband. There are other parrots in the adventure including a White Capped Pionus named Cappy, an African Grey named Ash, and a flock of cockatiels.
The story is told from Cloud’s point of view. This involved getting into the head of a crazy parrot. Fortunately, I’ve had a few of those. None of them were cockatoos, but I was able to extrapolate based on the small, feathered maniacs I have had. A few videos of cockatoos being goofy on YouTube didn’t hurt my ability to predict what was going on in the brain of a squawkatoo, either.
Cloud perceives the other birds and the humans as part of the flock. He defends them, argues with them, and takes on tasks he normally wouldn’t do to help them.
Some of that may be a bit of anthropomorphism, but there are some behavioral traits cockatoos are famous for. Pet cockatoos are sometimes called “Velcro birds” because they crave attention and affection from their humans. They can be very goofy. You’ve seen videos of cockatoos dancing and displaying, right?
And loud, wow. When I was working in a pet store, they had a Moluccan cockatoo. They’re a lovely shade of peach, and they have all the usual cockatoo traits. One day, a lady came in and saw the bird and immediately wanted it. Why? It matched her furniture. I kid you not. We tried to talk to her about what the bird was like, but she didn’t care because it matched her decor perfectly. So, while one fellow was showing her the stuff she would need, the rest of us got the bird riled up into full-on shriek mode. The lady changed her mind.
Writing from a cockatoo point of view was fun. Will there be a sequel to “The Hat?” I don’t know, but perhaps!