Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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This streaming video is a clip from a longer DVD, Snowball’s Snowy Christmas DVD, which is now available for Christmas gift giving. Children love Snowball and this DVD features the sulfur-crested cockatoo, Snowball, dancing to Christmas carols.


  1. #1 Crazyharp81602
    December 2, 2008

    Awwww! That’s cute! Thanks for the video!

  2. #2 Dexter
    December 2, 2008

    Snowball is a medium sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), not a parrot!

    I wrote a paper on Snowball for Irene Pepperberg’s “Animal Cognition” class at Harvard Extension last spring.

  3. #3 Dexter
    December 2, 2008

    P.S.: I meant that in regard to the title of the posting, of course.

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    December 2, 2008

    dexter — even though i have not written a paper for Irene Pepperberg’s Animal Cognition class at Harvard Extension, as a professional ornithologist who studies the evolution of parrots, i can say that, without a doubt, you are wrong. cockatoos are well-established members of the taxonomic order, Psittaciformes, both morphologically as well as genetically, and as a result, they are parrots.

  5. #5 Dexter
    December 2, 2008

    Yes, I’m also well aware that cockatoos are members of Psittaciformes. But as a former editor, I can assure you that the title line will be misleading to all of your readers who aren’t experts on the evolution of Psittasicformes.

  6. #6 Kathleen B. Heaton
    December 2, 2008


    As a current aviculturist, I can assure you that 100% of people interested in cockatoos are certain that the birds are parrots, as the commonly accepted definition of a parrot is a “hook-beaked bird having a short, squared tail.”

    Now, to borrow from a friend’s sig:

    Being kind is more important … than being important.

    “You be good…..see you tomorrow…….I love you.”
    –Alex the African Grey Parrot (1976-2007)


    Houston TX

  7. #7 "GrrlScientist"
    December 2, 2008

    wow. just .. wow.

    (i don’t think that people are quite as stupid as you give them credit for.)

  8. #8 Jim F.
    December 2, 2008

    Wow! That move at 2:45 into the video rocks – I think Snowball should be on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball”. Cool Parratoo …Cockakeet, whatever….

    P.S. (GrrlSci. is right. Cockatoos are parrots just as beagles are dogs. It doesn’t take a PHD to know that)

  9. #9 Angela Cancilla Herschel
    December 2, 2008

    Hey Dev go girl!
    Cockatoo have no gall bladder no Dyck texture feathers so no color most of the time.

    Snowball and, songbirds, parrots and dolphins ( whales etc.) have the ability to show the ability to “dance” to music.. amazing that even though we are closet to primates ,they cannot “dance” like a species that does verbally vocalize in a language form made up of sounds and not based on of body language.
    Neurologist Dr. Aniruddh D. Patel of TheNeurosciences Institute in San Diego California , analyzed
    Snowball’s ability to synchronize his movements to music with the help of John Iversen, Joanne Jaoand
    and Micah Bregman. , in the hope to help humans with medical neuro problems.

    Ciao, Angela Rosaria Cancilla Herschel in Southern California ……
    Being kind is more important … than being important.
    “You be good…..see you tomorrow…….I love you.” –Alex the African Grey Parrot (1976-2007)

  10. #10 Marie-france Blondeau
    December 12, 2008

    Just to say I LOVE that beautifull snowball, from Quebec (Canada

  11. #11 jay
    December 26, 2008

    It’s not dancing, but I’ve long wanted to record the interaction of our African Grey with music the radio. It’s not random response nor is it mimicry, but you cannot listen to that bird without being convinced that he at some level understands the music in a significant way. His vocalizations are appropriate and on beat, his response to opera is very different from his response to Mississippi blues, but equally enthusiastic. Sometimes it’s rhythmic interaction, sometimes it sounds like harmonizing, sometimes he’ll take the melody and improvise. The bird ‘gets it’

    I am well aware of the dangers of anthromorphising, but I can’t believe that a person could listen to this and not be convinced there is some form of comprehension going on.

  12. #12 Charlene
    March 21, 2009

    I just wanted to comment on this last post–who says his parrot “gets it”. I only have a cockatiel–and there are times when he is vocalizing and looking at me–I feel that he “gets” what he is doing too. I read the book “Alex and Me” by Irene Pepperberg.That book had a profound effect on me.I am sure that African Greys are the most intelligent of all the parrots.I love birds and have learned a lot about them after living with them so long.I believe you should have to take a test on bird behavior before being allowed to own one! Please don’t quote Alex so much–it makes me cry!

    May 22, 2009


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