Fella is my 43 year old Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. He’s a real character and has such an attitude. He has been in my family since I was a child and he was just a chick who had fallen out of his nest in a wind storm. We had to feed him a special baby mixture and his feathers weren’t yet developed for flying.

I let him out to wander around the back yard and do cockatoo stuff. He pulls out the weeds (and other things), prunes the plants (whether they need it or not) and well, chases the cat and our toes and causes a little havoc in the garden.  He is able to do this because he doesn’t know he can fly!

When he was young he started to discover his wings and sometimes would take off. He would find himself up a tree or on the neighbours roof and would start calling out to us to come and save him. There he would sit, afraid, until I climbed up and got him. Of course we were always concerned that he would take off and it would be the last we’d see of him. As he’d been with us since a chick, he didn’t know how to be a wild cockatoo. He didn’t even realise he was one. I think he thought he was a cat.

Fella’s fear took over. He didn’t fly very much and never learnt how to fly down. Over the years he has flown less and less to the point, he seems to have forgotten that he can. He’ll climb up on something, maybe 30cm from the ground and when he wants to get down, he’ll circle around trying to find a way. Sometimes he looks like he’s preparing to take flight, but no. He gives up and starts to screech at me needing the help to get down to the safety of the ground.

It seems to me that we can all be a bit like the cockatoo who didn’t know he could fly. We have all these amazing strengths and gifts that are a natural part of who we are. Sometimes we go out and test the water with them, but fear overcomes us. We get stuck up a tree and don’t want to do it again. We become happy to stay on the ground and maybe go back and hide in our safe little house. Overtime we forget about the wondrous gifts that we have. We forget that we can fly.

Finding that courage again takes a lot of effort. Fella regularly has wild cockatoos come and visit him, so he has seen how they effortlessly just lift themselves off the ground and fly. I some time catch him running around on the grass doing little jumps and lifting his wings as if to say, “is this how they do it?” For Fella to fly, it would take a lot of encouragement and, as the mother birds do, pushing him out of the nest.

So what will it take for us to make the most out of gifts? Someone to support us as we gather up our strength and courage; A whole lot of persistence and determination; And getting out there, spreading our wings and giving it a go, time after time after time until we master our flight.

Are you ready to fly?

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The Cockatoo Who Didn’t Know He Could Fly.
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