Since I was little, I have often felt closer to animals than to others of my own species. This month, in honor of the ninth anniversary of my blog here on Psych Central, I have decided to spend the month featuring some of my first-ever mentors and teachers with a mini-series called “Animals Are Just Like Us! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
A friend recently sent me a neat article about a bird I know well – at least by association.
Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo first shot to fame when he shook his tail feathers (and, frankly, all of his feathers) to that Backstreet Boys classic, “Rock Your Body.”
With more than 6.5 million YouTube views to his credit to date, there is no doubt that something beyond the sheer novelty of it has propelled Snowball into the public eye.
In short, Snowball can dance – and way better than lots of people I know (yours truly included)!
But even more compelling is what appears to be the shared appreciation for good music that offers, as his rescuers describe it, a “very good beat.”
I mean, what do you do when you cue up his vid and hear those first few strains of “Rock Your Body” waft out through your speakers? Does your head start bobbing? Does your booty start spontaneously shaking?
If you had crest feathers, wing feathers, tail feathers, any feathers, would they be standing up straight, fanned out even, in appreciation for the rhythm and cadence of a “very good beat?”
I mean, mine do. Head, booty, virtual crest/wing/tail feathers, the whole nine yards.
We may look different – waaaaay different – on the outside. But on the inside, even scientists now concur that we share more in common than might ever meet the eye: a sense of rhythm, creativity, spontaneity, an ability to use the body to perceive and enjoy music.
Scientists note that Snowball’s dance repertoire has been continually expanding over the years and now includes at least 14 different dance moves (from “headbangs” to “body rolls” to “vogues” to “head-to-foot syncs”) that he alternates for 3 to 4 seconds at a time as the music moves him.
The scientists also correlate a variety of other possible factors to Snowball’s dance talent – social bonds with humans, complex vocalization abilities, talent for mimicry, et al.
And in fact, it seems Snowball is not the only non-human being who enjoys an invigorating turn around the dance floor. Check out this video of Ronan the Sea Lion grooving to the Backstreet Boys as well as her own favorite tune, Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland.”
As a non-scientist who also happens to cohabitate with the cockatoo’s smaller cousin, the cockatiel, I have to say I don’t really need science to prove music truly is a universal language.
As proof, I submit this story.
Pearl, my 20-year-old cockatiel, is also a fellow music lover.
Ever since our little flock expanded in 2014 (with the addition of Malti, a redfooted tortoise, and then Bruce, a 3-toed box turtle) we have periodically worked with a wonderful animal communicator named Marta.
When we schedule these sessions, which are primarily for my own benefit as the inexpert and not always confident flock-wide mama, each flock member gets a turn to share likes, dislikes, requests, etc.
In this last session, when it was Pearl’s turn to share, he reported all is well, with one glaring exception……he would like more music.
And there you have it. Who feels like dancing?
With great respect & love,