Birds of the Month May 2004
By Eleanor McCaffrey Copyright Notice: No portion of this text or photos
may be, copied, printed or reproduced without
permission from site owner.

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 occasional nibble)."

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 lot."

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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