By Steve Schmadeke | Tribune reporter

he is a youtube dance star (3 million views and counting) with appearances on Leno and Letterman under his belt. His uncanny abilities, chronicled in two recent scientific papers, may deepen our understanding of human neurobiology, potentially opening up better treatments for those suffering from movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

But on a recent afternoon, Snowball — a sulphur-crested cockatoo The Economist magazine recently said “is probably the world’s most famous parrot” — was acting like, well, a bird, shrieking loudly in his cage kept in the basement of a nondescript Schererville, Ind., subdivision a few miles from the Illinois border.

He wanted some attention from Irena Schulz, 49, the retired Rush University researcher who cares for him and about 20 other birds at a shelter she runs from her home. Schulz, meanwhile, was trying to finish the story of the very first time she saw Snowball dance — to the Backstreet Boys’ 1997 hit “Everybody” while perched on her arm.

“I was speechless; I couldn’t believe what I was looking at — this bird getting down on my arm,” she said. “I mean, he was really boogieing.”

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