I used to call myself a drummer, mainly because I owned a drum set and I played for a few years. I never had a band because I was never that cool. Despite having only one job when I played, I could never really keep a beat. In this, and many other ways, the cockatoo is my superior.
Though they are shy creatures, these birds are the only animals (other than humans) who create their own drumsticks and use them to create a beat. This is different than woodpeckers, for example, who drum on trees in order to get to the yummy bugs in the bark. Lots of other animals use tools, but that’s generally to get food.
It seems like the only reasons the cockatoos create tools is to impress the ladies. Cockatoo beats are regular, repeated, and each bird does it slightly differently. I like to think they have different tastes. Really, I imagine this whole thing as some high school rom-com where the male birds have a battle of the bands to find a lady (or a dude bird, I’m not going to judge), but they have to make all the instruments themselves.
Many birds dance around to try to find a mate. Here’s a wonderful video of it. Surprisingly, the Palm cockatoos are only interested in making sweet, sweet music and not interested at all in dancing. They’ll awkwardly sway around, but that’s it. In rom-com world, imagine them all as Mick Jagger; good at making music, not so much at dancing to it.
While not a lot of research has been dedicated to the females’ reactions, in my mind, they are the group of girls from Grease, complete with gum popping and unimpressed faces.
And because this is all a John Hughes movie to me, it ends happily with every music making bird finding a mate who loves their style.