Backstreet Boid

From the cutting edges of Science comes a report via the Daily Mail, of a Harvard psychology student who studied hours of YouTube videos to uncover the startling true fact that cockatoos, like humans, have rhythm terrible taste in music.



  1. jess e. says:

    Backstreet’s back, all right! At least in the animal kingdom. Love that foot stomp.

  2. I saw that the AP was reporting on this yesterday and once again mourned the state of our media considering how long this video has been making the rounds.

  3. fluffernugget says:

    I see Snowball is making the scene again. He’s something else. I have achieved the headbobbing with my ‘Too (RB2/Galah) but that highstepping is way out of my little guy’s skill set.

  4. If I had real video-production software, I’d slow the tempo down a bit & re-sync this to “Good Lord” by Brother Ali. Mmhmm.

  5. wannadance says:

    this scared jasmine to death; she leapt up and ran. too young to have been making rounds…

    i, though, loved it. you can dance to it, my sole condition…i like the hairdo…

  6. i adore this video. he’s too cute!

  7. @John: The reason it’s news now is that the Harvard student just published. And before you say, “Duh!”, read the article – they did more than confirm that cockatoos have rhythm.

  8. Stressfactor says:

    Actually, Snowball went to college! it was his YouTube video making the viral rounds that first alerted the researcher to the fact that he might have a real, documentable, case of an animal other than a human being able to “dance”. Because of this the researcher contacted Snowball’s owner and created a number of different versions of this song — some speeded up and some slowed down — to see if Snowball would vary his dance tempo to match the music. Snowball’s owner video recorded the results and sent them back to the researcher.

    The whole story aired on NPR last night. Linky is here:


    Results were that is looks like Snowball really does “dance”!

  9. Kristabelle says:

    Awesome! Very interesting finds. I wonder if my cockatiel can keep a beat???

  10. Snowball was also featured on a segment of Letterman’s “Stupid Pet Tricks” a few months ago. While academia moves glacially, Letterman’s people had Snowball signed up within a few days of the video appearing on You Tube.

  11. i like to think i am such a francis* and i love all animals but due to an unfortunate childhood incident in which i was capitually** attacked from behind by a budgie forcing me to swallow a cookie crisp cereal piece whole, i don’t like all birds. just sparrows and homeless street birds.***

    after this, birds are super cute

    * trying out new words/terms, “animal lover”
    ** ditto, fancyspeak for “my head”
    *** i live in a big city, and a fantasyland where birds panhandle for crumbs

    (i may be high)

  12. I love how hard he’s getting down to that, hahaha.

  13. They also said that some elephants also have rhythm and can dance – they think there’s a link between vocal mimicry and the ability to get down. And then I thought to myself – elephants engage in vocal mimicry?? Yeah:

  14. Paunchie says:

    should be marked “encore presentashe”

    still cute though!

  15. skippymom says:

    M: For some reason, “the ability to get down” is causing me to absolutely crack up. The next time my Edward is on the kitchen counter and I tell him to get down, I’ll be expecting him to start busting a move. Thanks!

  16. Von Zeppelin says:

    It’s easier to appreciate the Backstreet Boys when your brain is the size of a pea.

  17. skippymom says:

    bee, I think maybee you bee high.

  18. That bird dances better than I do.

  19. Paunchie says:

    what did Vincent Price say in the Thriller lyrics? Whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down, shall be forced to face the hounds of hell and ROT inside a corpse’s shell…..



  20. scoobie says:

    This story made BBC World News

  21. SNOWBALL! What a great name!

    (My Jack Rascal Terrier’s named Snowball… yeah and she’s got rhythm, …in that, uh, she’s very repetitive! yeah.)

  22. It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

    […aaaaaaand, now it’s not. – Ed.]

  23. Paunchie, would that be “Whosoever” or “whomsoever”? Hm, is it a direct object?

  24. Adrienne says:

    If I had head feathers like that I would be dancing like that too!

  25. Who says white birds can’t dance?!!

  26. Paunchie says:

    Theresa, the rule I remember is “he is a who, and him is a whom” <– as in replace the word Who(m)ever with — well decide if it should be “he” or “him”.

    (He) or (Him) … shall be found

    He shall be found.

    So it’s Whoever shall be found.

    Dang grammar police out lately at CO!


  27. winnie says:

    i started bobbing my head just looking at him, this dude has some nice dance moves & he really moves to the beat

  28. That boyd was made for dancin’! I love how he pumps his head at the end, hee. So awesome.

  29. chirpy mam-ma says:

    I have a little Quaker parrot who sings the whole verse of Rock-A-By baby. But since
    I heard about Snowball dancing ,my little pet thinks i’ve lost it. I have danced and nodded my head until i’m dizzy! So for, my “Gabby” just watches me with his head to oneside, I’m too old for this'”stuff”! but i’m getting my exercize!!!! hee ! hee!

  30. I especially like his intermittent Tarzan-yells. Nothing says “Party!” like blood-curdling shrieks. :mrgreen:

  31. doxnsox says:



  32. Aardvark says:

    The black bird in the background appears to be jamming with his own moves, but not quite in sync like Snowball is.

  33. sunnymum says:

    i love this video, what a completely adorable bird! The high steps kill me! And the crest (is that what it is called?) reminds me of a punk hairdo. Get your groove on Snowball!

  34. Um… this fact was proved in ROCKADOODLE!!!

  35. DaytimeDeb says:

    If this birds a’rocking,
    Don’t bother talking.

  36. Katrina says:

    OOOOOOOOOKaaaaayy, now we know where James Brown went.
    Dear bird, I hope he doesn’t pull something. I LOVE the way he acknowledges the applause!

  37. Plaid-shirt Pyrate says:

    Shake ya groove thang,
    shake ya groove thang,
    Yeah Yeah!

    Wait, that was disco, wasn’t it?


  38. danielie says:

    He’s so amazing; I love how into it he was! I was laughing the whole way through because of the cuteness. 🙂

  39. platedlizard says:

    No surprise that ‘toos can dance. Did you guys see the African Grey in the neighboring cage? He was head-bobbing too.

  40. kibblenibble says:

    Plated Lizard, I was going to comment on the grey, too, but you beat me to it. This person is obviously a bird lover, there’re quite a few cages and squawks goin’ on. Birds are such funny creatures. My little conure loved the blow-dryer after he took a bath. (I didn’t bathe him people, he did it himself, in case the nuffers pop out.) He would dance up and down on his perch and spread out his wings as I blow-dried him all over. During all this, he’d scream, “Love you” over and over. It was so cute and funny. I miss my Scouty. *Sniff*

  41. He’s so amazing but then again most birds are – they are so smart and clever!LOL!

  42. My kitty, Strife, was sleeping on my feet when I clicked play. He immediately looked up at me with an extremely startled expression. I’m not sure if the bird chirps and screeches were what scared him, or if it was the Backstreet Boys. I think it was the Backstreet Boys.

  43. omg I freaking love this bird! He absolutely cracks me up. I can’t help but laugh when I watch him rocking to the beat of cheesy boy band music. My conure dances but has the rythym of a drunk man with two left feet……maybe the cockatoo could give my bird some lessons!

  44. I love how he seems to “sing” the ooohhhhh part of the song too. What a cute bird. 🙂

  45. Vanessa says:

    Snowball lives at Bird Lovers Only Rescue, and that is why there are so many other large birds around.
    They are always in need of donations and funds, so any and all publicity that they can get is going to help them to be able to help those birds. I hope that this video does keep resurfacing.
    Kudos to them, and especially to Snowball.

  46. marthava says:

    Theresa…lol Blood-curdling shrieks ALWAYS make me want to out and buy a keg.

  47. O M G that was hilarious. Love that bird!!!!

  48. Robert says:

    Plesae, make it stop, those shrieks are insufferable!!! Snowball, on the other hand, has an excellent voice =P

  49. Yay! Backstreet rocks alright! And *blllllleeeeh* to all that don’t like them, :-p
    That birdie knows having fun! Yeehah pal! Although, the Michael Jackson’s screaming… :-p
    Love that video, and better have that one resurfacing regularly than other stupid ones.

    “As long as there’ll be music, we’ll be coming back again…” 😀

  50. Just so frickin’ cute.

  51. Bubbles says:

    ssssssooooo damn cute!

  52. Another Cockatoo with rythm:

  53. aarh, great, my link didn’t appear :-s, there you go, simple way works best:

  54. Kristin C says:

    Love the headbang at the end!

  55. Yet another article link. 😉 (CBS/AP)

  56. Hon Glad says:

    This gives me a lorra lorra laffs.

  57. This is so funny and he is having a ball!

  58. Sagey D: says:

    I totally wish i had moves like that, I’m surprised Snowball isn’t a movie star.

  59. Snowball is the coolest little baby ever ! Not the greatest taste in music but still, what a dancer !

  60. Chantelle says:

    This bird has better feel than most of my band students.