Every morning, Bill Wasson and Tiki sit in the parking lots at convenience stores in Folsom and Glenolden for their morning coffee.
Tiki is an unusual companion. He has pink feathers, a peach-colored crest on his head and enjoys coffee and crackers with Wasson. In fact, Tiki is a pink, or Moluccan, cockatoo.
Tiki sits on the passenger side of Wasson’s truck with the windows rolled down. At the Glenolden Wawa on MacDade Boulevard, the cockatoo likes to perch on the railing in front of the store.
Wasson, who has had Tiki for all of the bird’s 19 years, said he is one of the most intelligent breeds and knows how to speak.
But Wasson did not teach Tiki the word “Wawa” nor how to ask, “Are we going to Wawa.” He learned that himself.
“Animals are smarter than humans,” Wasson said.
He described a time when he would talk to the female deer that would pass through his farm, and they would show him their babies.
Tiki is also nosey, Wasson said. In fact, when they were in a parking lot at that same store one day, a customer had a car parked with the hood up.
Sensing the vehicle may have broken down Tiki asked the person, “What’s the matter?”
Wasson talked about when he first brought Tiki home at two weeks old. He mixed the baby bird’s formula and fed him through a syringe.
At the time, the cockatoo only had peach fuzz, but he grew his feathers at six months old and that’s when Wasson started taking Tiki out with him.
Tiki also enjoys snow, and when Wasson brings him out he will walk along the railing in front of a store and drag his black beak through the snow.
Tiki will wake up at 9:30 a.m. to tell Wasson to get ready to go out. He will yell, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” early in the morning.
Having Tiki is like having a little kid, Wasson said. The cockatoo whined when Wasson told him they weren’t going back into a store.
Parrots like wooden toys to destroy with their beaks, and Tiki is no different. He and Wasson buy two-by-fours that Wasson carves holes in for Tiki’s enjoyment.
Passersby will tell Wasson that they want a cockatoo after meeting Tiki, but he advises that people should do their homework before buying cockatoos, or any animal.
“They want one now, but they don’t think about how long it is going to live,” Wasson said. “He could live 50 years, and he’s only 19 now.”