Birds of the Month May 2004
By Eleanor McCaffrey
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Nikki, a 14 month old female pearl cockatiel, just loves
Cockatiel Cottage. As you can
see in this picture, she is actually reading Birds of the Month.
Cyndie said, "She loves the music on the home page.
She cocks her little head and will sit forever just listening. Nikki is quite smart and very
lovable. She can say "Pretty Bird", loves head scritches and coos so sweetly. My husband
said he never knew how much fun a little cockatiel would be. He certainly never thought he would be
scratching her on the head! Nikki also loves to take a shower with me.
I bought her a shower perch but she prefers my head! She eats dinner with us
every night and has a variety of foods including her pellets as well seeds.
Nikki likes to go in her travel cage on a short ride to visit my Mom and her
cockatiel, Jake. I sing songs to her in the car but I think she's the only one who appreciates
my singing. Nikki is much prettier than in
this picture. She's very smart, lovable, and is our only pet. We spoil her
terribly because she is so special to us!"
This little sweetie with the bird on top of his head is Max.
Max is a 1 year old, male pied cockatiel. Claudia said,
"Max is extremely outgoing, friendly, and a very good talker.
He loves alarm clocks (he hears it in the morning and launches
into song), music, a tickle on the head, and any surface in which he
can see his own reflection. Max dislikes strange visitors and my other birds (he's a bit jealous).
Max first came into my life on a visit to a local pet
shop. All of the cockatiels in the cage followed me from one side to the other,
falling over each other trying to get my attention. I spent about 20
minutes talking to them and watching them. Max sort of stood out. If I had the money,
I would have bought all of them. Max bonded with us quickly and started learning new words within a couple
of weeks. He started out with a wolf-whistle and "Pretty bird" then quickly learned to request
attention by saying "Hi sweetie" or "Hi little baby!" He now has a larger vocabulary. He
learns a new word every week or
so and is quite skilled at whistling. Max's loves to eat anything that I am eating.
His favorite treats are apples, cooked corn, lettuce and pizza (he is allowed an
My good friend Cheryl, who breeds cockatiels, is one of the most proud bird mommies
I know. She sends me dozens of photos each month. Her babies are extremely
beautiful and healthy looking. The little guy in this photo is Joey. I asked
Cheryl to tell me more about what
she feeds her birds. She said, "I have such SPOILED little birds. In the morning they make so much
noise until I let them out of their cages. They fly directly to the kitchen
for their morning goodies. I usually have honey wheat berry bread, (their favorite) and
a large dinner plate filled with several kinds of lettuce,
spinach, veggies and some fresh fruit waiting for them. They just love it. If we are having cereal I give them
some if it doesn't have sugar. They really like shredded wheat and oatmeal.
Then to top it off I make a small amount of the baby formula. I use Exact. I figure if it is good to raise the babies on
then it has to be good for mom
and dad to eat while feeding them. They really seem to like it. I make it
warm for them of course.
They also like some of our other people food like corn on the cob...
with butter of course. The food mixture I buy for them contains seeds, veggies
and fruit. I blend the cockatiel mix with the parakeet mix because they seem to
like the smaller pieces. So as you can see they are quite spoiled."
Jasmine, who is owned by Sonja and Andy, is a hand reared bird. Sonja said,
"I think that we actually belong to her! She enjoys nothing more
than to be cuddled and held, not to mention the kisses!
Jasmine spends most of her time sitting on my shoulder and being a part of
things. She loves to fly around and has a special box that she likes to
chew. Jasmine mimics the phone and also blows kisses. She is very nosy
and will get herself into as much mischief as she can.
Jasmine is on a fortified seed diet which is supplemented with organic carrot
leaves, radish leaves and peas that we buy. She will not eat any type of fresh
fruit. We have tried but she tends to favor greens. Her favorite food is a tropical treat stick which she devours.
Jasmine really enjoys a
small piece of crunchy toast and will take a crafty swig out of your tea
cup if you are not watching her! She always wants
to eat the things she isn't allowed, especially crisps! She loves Pringles and will usually take a bite out of the crisp before you get
it to your mouth! We do not let her have them often and
when we do it is only one small piece as they are not good for her. We love
Jasmine very much and could not imagine her not being part of the family!"
Shawn sent us this picture of his 2 month old cockatiel, Chewey. Shawn said,
"We looked for a cockatiel for about a week until my mom contacted a woman at
a pet shop about an hour away from my house. We went to get our new bird but
then we found out the birds were babies and weren't ready to come home. I
was so upset. Then I saw this little bird hop off his perch in the
nursery cage and stick his little head against the door. I knew he was it. He was so lovable. He hopped up on
my hand right away and soon was up my arm onto my shoulder. We played with him
then found our cage. We missed him so much we went
back to visit him after 3 days!
Then we went again about a week later. We were so excited
when we were finally able to bring him home 3 weeks later. Chewy
loves everyone. He loves attention and will soon be the boss of our house, taking
the job of my little sister. Chewy is such a funny bird and we really love him a
This little angel's name is Sunny and she belonged to Erika. Sunny passed away
just 2 weeks before her first birthday. Erika shared her very sad story with us
and said, "I adopted Sunny last May and we hit it off instantly.
She was the tamest, sweetest little bird I have ever known.
She loved to eat cereal and spinach and loved following my
13-year-old gray male Bibi around everywhere! Sunny also loved
to cuddle and have her head rubbed. She was not fortunate
when it came to her health. Although she was very well-cared for,
at 3 months of age she became very sick with a chlamydia bacteria
that she probably got from her parents as a baby. With a lot of love, time,
medical attention and antibiotics, I eventually nursed her back to health and she
was back to her active self. Unfortunately my little Sunny became ill
again when she was about 11 months old and passed away
just days before her first birthday. It is not certain but symptoms
and the post-mortem exam by her avian vet indicated that Sunny had contracted PDD
( Proventricular Dilation Disease -- Macaw Wasting Disease).
Although she was eating, her body could not
digest food anymore. I am lucky to have had Sunny in my life even though
our time together was brief. She really was my little ray of sunshine. I miss
her so much."
Note: Chlamyidophila, also known as Chlamydiosis, Psittacosis,
Ornithosis or Parrot Fever
is a disease caused by a bacteria. Symptoms include
nasal discharge, labored breathing, runny eyes, inactivity,
yellow or lime green urates in droppings (the part that should be white).
Humans can catch this disease from their bird and will develop flu like symptoms. Both bird
and owner need medical treatment.
Note: PDD Proventricular Dilation Disease, is a fatal disease affecting many species of birds including
cockatiels. It's caused by a virus and can affect birds at any age.
The virus effects the nerves in a bird's digestive system as well as the
nerves of the central nervous system. Food
can not be digested or absorbed by the bird's body even though the bird is still
eating. There is no known effective treatment for PDD.
Symptoms of PDD include whole, undigested seeds or food in a bird's droppings, vomiting,
weight loss, abnormal head movements, seizures..
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For Page 2, May 2004
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