Companion Cockatoos – Fun

I always had German Shepherds until I found myself living in apartments in the city center ten years ago. When I met a couple who desperately needed their two cockatoos to care for their babies for six weeks, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

These birds, a female and a younger male, were a difficult case. He didn’t always sit on my shoulder when I left the room, but she did, and when she and I left, he would make a fuss, then jump out of the cage and collapse, wings on the floor to march. . behind me, yelling at his girlfriend all the way. They both had paper fetishes and cute little spike shapes from whatever paper I was negligent enough to leave within reach.

I now have two male cockatiels, coriander and bergamot (B&C). Cockatoos, as members of the parrot family, fall into the category of companion birds. They want to be in your company and interact with you. They are affectionate, sensitive, surprisingly intelligent, and downright comical.

However, they are filthy and constantly clean after them. The mess is mostly husked seeds that parrots seem to enjoy throwing out at least a meter radius from their cage.

All parrots are flock birds and in nature, when separated from the flock, they call each other. In captivity they do the same … only in captivity, I am the one who represents the herd.

They want to know I’m inside Cooee and periodically whistle at me to make sure I’m still around. As long as you answer, they are happy. If I’m a little late to answer, they’ll come looking for me. I’ll be sitting in front of the computer typing madly when two little birds appear at the door, chirping. They pile directly onto my feet and begin to climb up to my shoulder where they crouch, gurgling (like a cat purring), content. If I sit next to their cage, they will crawl out and awkwardly pass it to sit on top of me.

The B&Cs are free to come out of their cage when I am home, but I lock them up to go out because they will deal, pick first, with the nearest interesting thing. Telephone cables and electrical cables are the main attractive items. They will destroy my plants for the sheer pleasure of cutting the leaves. If it’s metal, they’ll find the weak link in seconds. Jupiter, a male cockatiel I once owned, would sit on my shoulder and play with my earring. Next, he would stretch his head in front of my face to show me the part that he had just released from the hook that would still be in my ear.

I have taught this couple to say: You are an idiot. Amuse the visitors. I recently left them with the breeders for a couple of weeks. When I came back, they said Hello Darling. They both sing in tune with Strauss’ waltzes, led by Karajan. I leave you a CD on repeat while I’m away to keep you company and add to your repertoire. Bergamot has annoyingly caught the cry of a Mynah bird and Coriander repeats the sound of my cell phone’s message beep. Have you heard the expression, ‘learning parrot fashion?’ It means repetitive. This is how birds are taught to pick up new words and sounds.

B&C loves arrowroot milk cookies as a treat. They used to go crazy for broccoli, but now they prefer silver beets. They are also supporters of green beans, manuka, bottle brush, eucalyptus, pittasporum, and willow. They gleefully pick them up into pieces that gloriously shoot over the place. It keeps them busy as well as nurturing them. I run a folded sheet of paper through the bars of the cage and they pull on it for days. A little pineapple keeps them busy too.

In the wild, cockatoos spend about 80% of their time foraging for food, interspersed with periods of rest. B&C will be busy like summer bees, singing at full blast, climbing up their cage, spreading branches and leaves, and then all of a sudden there they are with their heads back, their beaks buried in their back feathers and their eyes closed. .

They love to be doused with water every now and then and rub their heads against the perch, wings outstretched and upward, leaning at crazy angles to get the most out of the spray. I used to take Jupiter to the shower with me. When he’d had enough, he crawled up my arm and I would arrange him on the railing to fix himself while I washed.

B&C is still young at six months. I can look forward to having the company of these lovely feathered clowns for twenty years or more.

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