The Christmas Cockatiel

We got a cockatiel for Christmas from my mother-in-law.

Lest anyone think this was an impulse purchase, we’ve been discussing getting a new bird for nearly a year now, and the MIL offered to pay the expenses of acquiring the bird, getting food, and all the other little essentials. The husband actually went and chose the bird, as I was laid up by the flu that day.

He’s just a baby! Well, a pre-teen in human terms. He’s got all his proper feathers, but still has a dark beak and pink feet and has that wonderfully soft immature fluffy-down feeling when you pet him (when he lets you pet him). Well, we think it’s a him but really, we don’t care.

He’s remarkably calm for a young bird. Friendly towards strangers. Knows what “step up” means in regards to offered fingers. Still a little unsteady climbing things, balancing on new perches, and manipulating objects. Can fly, in the sense of getting airborne, but hasn’t a clue how to turn or stop (I knew he was in trouble the first time he made a startled lift-off and the distress calls started as soon as his feet left the perch, rising in intensity along with his altitude). We’ll be working on improving those skills in a safe environment, when we have the energy. This will be the 3rd or 4th bird I’ve helped to learn to fly, which is fine - it’s just that they end up doing it so much better than I ever will (hrmphf!)

Needs a name, though. Something respectable, easy, and preferably gender-neutral in case we have a she instead of a he. Not that it will matter to the bird.

No doubt, the little thing is entirely puzzled by recent events. Brought home by these huge pink things that (thanks to the flu) have spent the past week mostly horizontal and making the most dreadful roaring and mucussy noises. But he has been issued clean water and food daily, given attention, and has had the chance to listen to lots and lots of music, which he likes, and watch TV, which also apparently likes, once he figured out you’re supposed to watch the moving bits.

Anyhow, just thought I’d share.

My cockatiel was named Sydney…nice, gender-neutral and an homage to their country of origin.

every time we go to Petsmart I interact with one.
Last time, I moved to the side, he followed; I moved to the left, he quickly followed.
back and forth til I got dizzy.
Love em.

Oh, name?

A Christmas bird? Easy, name him/her Kris. I’ve never had a cockatiel but they sure do look fun. Congratulations on your new family member.

Congrats! Sounds like a cute little bird. What color pattern is he? My parrot doesn’t seem to notice music or TV at all, but I’ve heard that many birds really like that sort of thing.
Do you really want the tiel to fly though? Flying can be risky for pet birds. Every few months I take my bird for wing clipping (and nail-trimming for that matter). If he could fly I’d worry about him hurting himself with crashing into a window or even escaping outside. :eek:

I love cockatiels! I’ll never forget my first cockatiel, Lexie.

I went outside to get a Pepsi with her on my shoulder and she flew away. I was so upset! I mean, I was in 7th grade so it was particularly traumatic. I even hung up flyers and went door-to-door asking people if they had seen her! Yes, we got her back…


At least she had a proper burial.
Word of advice: Don’t teach it to whistle unless you REALLY like whistling. If you like shrill, loud wolf-whistles at the crack of dawn then by all means teach it to whistle!

About the whole flying thing:

Yes, we wing-clip our birds. Basically, we snip enough of the flight feathers so they can’t climb, but they can manage a short distance of level flight and a controlled descent. I want the little darling to be competant at landings, at least, so when he has his outside-the-cage time he doesn’t hurt himself falling off something onto the ground. At present, he hasn’t a clue what to do.

Flying is also good exercise for birds, although, as I mentioned, you need a safe and secure environment for this. And I firmly believe a lot of cage birds get hurt flying because they’ve never been given a chance to master the skill - they crash into things because they don’t know how to turn properly or land properly.

Our lovebirds would chase each other through the house like little fighter pilots, easily negotiating doorways and such. During such flight times we’d cover the windows and mirrors and make sure doors to outside were closed. THEN we’d have to catch the little guys afterward :slight_smile:

With our new bird, we started with short hops from a hand to the top of his cage. His confidence and agility has improved on this trick in just a couple days. He also had one “startle-takeoff” from the kitchen area when I was working with him. He managed to grab the living room blinds rather than crash, then started calling for help. Little guy was clinging for dear life to the blinds, had no idea how to get down. He needs little bit better control than that!

Hope you have fun with him. I’ve been thinking about getting an African Grey again. The last one I gave away because I was traveling too much to be a good companion, but now I travel a lot less…

How about Caruso? Not really gender neutral, but appropriate if your bird sings.

We had two cockatiels years ago, a male and a female. The male would sing and sing. The female crooned.

What color is s/he?

We kept our MIL’s cockatiel for a few months several years ago and I was surprised by how affectionate and like a “real pet” he was. Never having owned a bird, I assumed it would be like having a feathered goldfish. I didn’t like the dust, but he had a lot of personality.

Now, you see, his coloring is unusual… He’s your basic “wild color” cockatiel with predominating grey… but he’s entirely missing all his yellows! No yellow at all. He’s got really, really faint light grey cheekspots.

So “monochrome” was considered briefly as a name.

Also discovered he likes Cheerios. Really likes Cheerio’s. I was pouring myself a bowl of them for lunch and a small grey bird suddenly materialized in the bowl, chewing madly, as more Cheerio’s cascaded over his head. Much protest when I reclaimed MY lunch.

OK, we now have the start of a list of Bribe Foods…

Broomstick says:

Make sure that you close all the toilet seats unless you’re also planning to teach your bird how to swim. Just sayin’

Closed toilet seats are SOP in my house, anyhow. But yes, doublecheck those, too.

Bribe is such an ugly word…how about list of Reward foods? I like Cheerios, too, but not THAT much. I wish I could have seen him. Have you named him (or her) yet?

Closed toilet seats are supposed to be SOP in the Bodoni household, too, as our cats enjoy jumping on the lids and then into the sink for a drink from the faucet. When the lids AREN’T closed and Kitty gets wet, everyone suffers.

Cockatiels love anything that’s made of grain. They will station themselves on your shoulder and lunge out to grab a bite of a sandwich or a pizza slice as you bring it to your mouth. They seem to have a sense of entitlement–unlike other animals, they don’t beg, they just assume you will share your food with them and then proceed to grab what they want.

My youngest male, Music Man, sings maniacally but also has learned to imitate electronic noises. Last summer I thought I heard the smoke alarm go off and I ran to the kitchen thinking a fire had started. It took me a few seconds to figure out that it was the cockatiel. I’m sure once your bird learns to imitate you’ll be in for lots of fun.

Congrats on the new family member. :slight_smile:

I ‘acquired’ my mother’s cockateil about a year ago. She’s named Calvin, but she was named before we knew she was a she. :wink: Cal is about 12 or 13 years old and wasn’t very friendly in the beginning, but she’s warmed up to me since then. I also have a small parrot, and Mom and I decided that they should live together and keep each other company. They’re in separate cages next door to each other, and they’ve come to like each other a lot.
They are both great big beggars, and I have to give them treats as soon as the covers come off in the morning. The parrot gets dried fruit and Cal gets cereal. Her favorite is Special K, but Wheaties will do in a pinch.
Cal doesn’t do much more than peep, and IIRC, males are the only ones who can learn to talk and imitate sounds. I could be wrong about that though.

Have fun with the new baby!

I got a Christmas bird too!! A baby budgie (budgerigar for you non-Aussies), a male of a recessive pied colouring (basically white with a blue belly for you non-budgie buffs) and he’s GORGEOUS.

We’ve called him Warren…or Wozza in the Orstralian Vernacular. I’ve had him just over a week, and he is starting to vocalize already. He is happy to hop on fingers and while he is a bit antzy when we bring him out of the cage for a scratch and tickle, he hasn’t bitten yet, and seems mighty happy when we give him a stroke on the head and beak.

I’m in lurv with my new boy. :smiley:

(Oh, and if perchance she turns into a girl, we’ll call her Warrenetta.)


I’ve only ever had budgies (we frequently call them “parakeets” in the United States, though I now know it’s incorrect) as pets, and they’re a lot of fun. They sure can make a lot of noise, though. I love the way they puff out their feathers and close their eyes when they get their llittle chins scratched, they look sooooo happy and content.

I’d love to have another bird, but we have two cats in residence. I really don’t want to provide the cats with a really FRESH dinner, if they manage to kill the bird. And I don’t want to try to re-attach kitty noses, if they don’t manage to kill the bird. So we’re gonna be bird free for as long as we’ve got cats. The male cat has a habit of tapping someone (human or the other cat) when he wants to play. I can just picture him trying to tap the pretty birdy, and drawing back a bloody stump. Birds can certainly apply a lot of pressure with their beaks, even tiny little budgies.

The bird is now officially “Sydney”

The chirps and chortles are coming along nicely - he “sings” along with the radio and TV. Has been a bit quiet when I play piano - think he’s rather puzzled by all the motion that goes with the noise.

He’s so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute!