A lovable larrikin

ABANDONED by his parents before birth, Glossy Black Cockatoo Mr Fifty-Fifty has found his place as a bonafide member of human family, the Gowlands.

It's been almost two years since Priam Psittaculture Centre general manager Daniel Gowland adopted Fifty. The beautiful bird was orphaned after some unwelcome visitors dropped by the centre's research and breeding facility.

"One night we had some sugar gilders break into the bird's nests to make their own babies. They disturbed Fifty's parents who jumped off the egg," Mr Gowland said.

"They didn't return so we had to find a substitute and artificially incubate the egg for about 28 days until it hatched. The history behind Fifty's name is that we thought he only had a 50-50 chance of making it."

But make it he did, so the Gowland family - Daniel, wife Lisa, and children Nungheena, 8 and Tambah, 6, decided they would try and rear Fifty on their Bungendore property.

One of the first challenges for the family was feeding time as Glossy Black Cockatoos diet exclusively on the seeds of drooping sheoaks.

"Unlike other parrots, Fifty had very specific dietary requirements. It has to be the right temperature, the right amount and at the right time," Mr Gowland said.

"There was a lot of feeding, every hour, two times a day then working up to just once a day and then weaning him off."

Fifty has a diversified diet now that also includes a range of nuts, sunflower and sprout seeds, spinach and carrot.

Mr Gowland said as Glossy Black Cockatoos are a vulnerable species it will soon be time for Fifty to find a mate and start breeding.

"Our aim now is to find Fifty a partner, he's single at the moment," he said. "We're actively trying to find him a girlfriend, someone he's compatible with."

For now though, Fifty is content spending time with the family and occasionally accompanying Mr Gowland to work.

"Fifty has space to fly outside or move into the house whenever he wants. He can usually come to work with me for a couple of hours but because there's a lot of stimuli he usually needs a siesta in the middle of the day," Mr Gowland said.

"Fifty does really well with other people, he doesn't mind them looking at him. He loves being part of the family, he loves to hoon around, flap his wings and fly.

"He's tactile and gets up on the different perches, cubby houses and enjoys a game of hide and seek. He just loves to play."

For more information on the Glossy Black Cockatoo please visit www.glossyblack.org.au.

Daniel Gowland helped rear Glossy Black Cockatoo, Mr Fifty-Fifty, after his parents abandoned him two years ago. Photo: Kim Pham.

Daniel Gowland helped rear Glossy Black Cockatoo, Mr Fifty-Fifty, after his parents abandoned him two years ago. Photo: Kim Pham.

Glossy Black Cockatoo, Fifty.

Glossy Black Cockatoo, Fifty.

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