Currently we have in residence Sydney the White-Headed Cockatiel, who looks like a monochrome charcoal drawing come to life. Well, OK, he has brown eyes but they’re so dark they often look black. Sydney is chronically nervous for no reason we can fathom, high strung, and has feather-picking tendencies. He wants everyone to stay in the bedroom forever and never go anywhere, and he’s afraid of car rides. He’s the only bird we’ve ever had that didn’t like riding in a car. He acts like most of the world is too bright, too loud, and too noisy. He does, however, like watching TV. Sydney is full flighted, in part to allow him to escape when the other birds pick on him although in the past six months or so he’s started to develop some backbone. He can say “pretty bird” and “love you”.
We have Sunny (Sunshine) a standard-issue “wild” colored cockatiel who is more typical of the breed. We have to him wing clipped, both because otherwise he’d bully Sydney but also because when he’s full flighted he starts getting defiant and wild and we don’t want to spend two hours chasing a bird around the house. He can whistle a few bars of “Colonel Bogey’s March” (Bridge Over River Kwai) and the Andy Griffith them song, but he apparently has a very small memory buffer. He will also mix the two, improvise variations, then repeat them for hours, but isn’t really a talker.
Last year we got Griffin. Griffin is a green-cheeked conure with a 10 foot personality packed into her teeny body. She is madly in love with my husband, and quite attached to me, too. We let her flight feathers grow out so she could learn to fly and get some exercise, and now that she has the hang of it she’ll fly laps around a room or from one end of the apartment to the other. We will, however, probably have to clip her soon which my husband doesn’t want to do because her primaries are this amazing electric blue. She’s a clown. She will also lay on her back on command, we’re trying to teach her to poop in the trash can rather than at random locations, and is quite verbal. She says “George”, “George bird” (that’s her), “pretty bird”, “don’t”, “stop it”, “come here” and “step up”. She also has a particular chirp whistle that is MY name in Conure. She also imitates the cockatiels.
When she wakes up in the morning you hear George… George… George!.. George!..George!
All three of them can imitate human laughter. Sometimes the whole flock goes at it. The weird thing is, they practice it - you’ll have a bird on a perch going “ha ha ha!” over and over.