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Dickerson Park Zoo's New "Professor"

We're live at Dickerson Park Zoo this morning, where Melinda Arnold joins us with a rescue bird you'll be seeing a lot more of.
We're live this morning at Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo, Melinda Arnold joins us with a rescue bird.

The animal of the day is the lesser sulfur crested cockatoo. He is a rescued bird and he will soon be part of the education programs at the zoo and in the community.

Melinda:  This is Professor Elliot.  He is a lesser sulpher crested cockatoo. And he is about 6 years old.  His previous owner passed away and so he came here to the zoo.  He is part of our education collection.  You can see why he is called a sulpher crested cockatoo, because of the yellow feathers.  He also has yellow coloring on his cheeks, under his wings and on his tail.

Rob Evans:  What is "lesser sulpher" about?

Melinda:  There are different species or sub-species of the sulpher crested cockatoo, so there are greater and lesser.  It refers to their size.  This is a little bit smaller bird than some of the other cockatoos that are similar.  His body is about 12 inches and he weighs less than a pound.  The thing about cockatoos, is they are excellent mimics of speech.  He has a limited, but entertaining vocabulary. He says 'hi professor' he says 'whatcha doin' and a few other phrases that he has picked up from his previous owner.  Also with that owner, he was a certified pet therapy bird.  So he went out to retirement center and community events to interact with people there.  So he is very  people friendly.

Rob - Does he sound like a parrot?

Melinda - Yes, it is very similar to what you'd hear a parrot say, again an excellent mimic of speech, so it's very easy to understand what he's saying. 

Rob - How many words can the average cockatoo repeat?

Melinda - I think he has 10 or 12 phrases right now that he says.  We're trying to teach him a couple of other things.  Because he is now in our education area as one of our program animals, we're hoping to teach him something like 'hello boys and girls' or something like that when he goes into a classroom he will hopefully greet the children.  But right now, we're simply working with him to get him comfortable with us and us comfortable with him so that he can go out.  This is actually his public debut.  No one has seen him before now, except here in the education building.  And he's only done a handful of programs at this point here at the zoo.  At some point, he'll be going out into the community

Rob - I understand you have a couple of special programs at the zoo, coming up this next week.

Melinda - We do, a couple of big events coming up next week. Tuesday is the final Free Tuesday here at the Zoo.  So from 9-5, admission is free for children and adults.

Saturday, July 20, we have our annual Zoobilee, which is a musical entertainment festival from 10-2.  We have four local bands, and all those performances are free with y our paid zoo admission.


Free Summer Tuesday
July 16
9a.m.-5p.m.
Free Admission

Zoobilee
July 20
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Local Bands Perform
Free with Paid Admission

(417) 833-1570

www.dickersonparkzoo.org

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