Love & Family

A cockatoo proposed to me!

Erin got a big surprise at the bird show

Erin Taylor, 21, from the Gold Coast had no idea what her boyfriend Jesse was planning

Watching in awe as a blur of rainbow lorikeets zoomed around the arena, I could barely wipe the smile from my face.

It was August last year, and my boyfriend, Jesse, then 24, and I had decided to visit Australia Zoo.

We’d met four years earlier at the fast-food restaurant where we both worked, and hit it off right away.

Before long, we were spending all our time together at the beach, camping or 4WD-ing.

When the pandemic put a stop to our trip to New Zealand last year, we visited the Sunshine Coast instead.

An animal lover, I insisted we spend a day at the zoo.

Buying our tickets early in the morning, the woman at the counter said they were filming a promotional video at a show to celebrate the zoo’s reopening after the COVID-19 outbreak.

‘Since you’re the first couple here, would you like to be a part of it?’ she asked.

Told that I’d get to meet a black cockatoo face-to-face, when he landed on my arm to fetch a note from my hand, I jumped at the chance.

‘I’d love to,’ I replied, not quite believing our luck.

After getting all the details of what I’d have to do, we had three hours before the show.

Koala cuddles with my ring!

Making our way around the park, we saw tortoises, lizards and lace monitors. We also viewed other native creatures, such as koalas, echidnas and wombats.

Then, just before 12pm, we made our way to the Crocoseum, where the shows take place, and found our seats.

Despite being in the shade, Jesse was sweaty and fidgety.

‘Is it hot in here?’ he asked.

‘Sit still,’ I replied, thinking he was nervous about our big moment.

After a thrilling crocodile feeding, another zookeeper walked in with a red-tailed black cockatoo on her arm.

This was it!

‘Would anyone like to meet Euli?’ she asked the crowd.

Jumping up, I waved my arms in the air on cue. Then, I held out a fake $5 note the ticket seller had given me earlier for Euli to fetch.

Incredibly, he came straight to me, landing on my arm before taking the bill from my hand and flying back.

Euli the black cockatoo on my arm

‘Now Euli’s going to deliver your receipt via airmail,’ the zookeeper smiled, adding that I should check it.

Euli dutifully put a white piece of paper in my palm before sailing away again.

As I uncurled it, though, I recognised Jesse’s writing.

Will you marry me? the note read.

Shocked, I turned to see Jesse was already on one knee, ring in hand.

‘Yes!’ I cried as the arena erupted in applause.

I’d had no idea Jesse had been planning it for months.

We spent the rest of the day showing off my ring in photos with animals.

Afterwards, the zoo shared the video online and it went viral. Now, more than four million people have viewed it!

I still can’t believe that Jesse got a cockatoo to propose to me! He makes my heart soar every day we’re together.

Related stories