24 Nov 2020
On my morning walk by the river with the dog, we were once again treated to a dazzling display of noise and lunacy from the large white birds in the trees.
I know these birds to be corellas, but growing up they were just “white cockies”, aka cockatoos. Along the way we have been better educated by people who are really insistent on things being called by their proper names, so I mentally call them corellas – when I’m not verbally saying “Oi you bunch of stupid cockies – put a cork in it, will you?”, that is.
Pink and grey galahs are known in my brain as “pink & grey’s” – I don’t bother with the galah tag, because as far as behaviours goes, they’re less galah-like than the corellas. Oh – for non Australians, a ‘galah’ is also a colloquialism for someone who is a fool, an idiot, or a bit of a twit. That is how corellas behave. Pink & greys are a bit more chilled and only really put on a show if there’s food involved.
Of course in Australia we also have “bin chickens”, a colloquial name given to the Australian white Ibis, and maggies who are quite obviously magpies.
But this bit of diarrhoea was not intended as an ornithology lesson, but about appropriate or inappropriate titles.
When I’m at the zoo with my grandson, there are a LOT of animals who I will quite comfortably refer to as ‘monkeys’. Zoologists and people who have strong opinions, would be shocked with the blatant lack of care I display about whether the creature should be called a monkey or whether something more specific is more accurate. Any primate of any kind, my grandson will learn from me, is a monkey – until he gets older and can start correcting me, probably!
Of course, I’m not neglecting my grandsons education. I do, of course, distinguish different sorts of monkeys with him – the tiny monkeys, the big orange monkeys, and the crowd favourite, the bare bum monkeys. I’m just an educator at heart.
Are you the sort of person who likes things to be referred to by their proper title? I’m assuming that none of us are particular enough to want to refer to corellas as Licmetis, which is the sub genus of cockatoos where the corellas are placed. But would you get all judgemental on me if you heard me telling my grandson “look at the silly white cockies!”?
Do you have other colloquial names for things that you really don’t care what other people think they should be called?
Because let’s face it, we give humans nicknames – why can’t we do the same with animals?