Friday 22 February 2019

When dancing is a pleasure for birds as well - Soch: Column by Dr. Arshiya Sethi

Steeped as we are in our love for dance, we fail to recognise sometimes that we are not alone in the dancing world. Many more species in nature dance as impressively if not more, than man. It is while watching the migratory birds visiting Delhi that urged me to talk of dance in the avian world.

Actually, very few animals really dance - that is to say that they can consistently move to music. I will talk about this in a subsequent column, but for the moment I must point out that the most attractive dancing is by birds.

There is a well-documented case, also a case that was the first to be scientifically explored, of a cockatoo called Snowball. This species come from Australia and New Guinea, where sadly they are regarded as pests. Snowball, with a distinctive, almost punky sulphur crest, had a rare talent. Snowball could dance, nodding and stamping to a variety of tunes, but his especial favourite was the Backstreet Boys tune, "Everybody". Snowball used his skills to appear on TV, initiate neuroscience research and raise funds for disadvantaged children. He was featured on an episode of 'Animals at Work', which described Snowball as a professional dancer. 

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