To be honest, some days I do not know if the stress of my pet Moluccan cockatoo outweighs the companionship she brings. I am positive if I had not worked at professional zoological institutions for so many years that I would have seriously considered rehoming her. Countless large parrots are placed in bird focused rescue organizations due to owners not knowing or being able to change behavior.
I understand why someone would want such a striking bird. Moluccans, for instance, have salmon crests, yellow under the wings and a pink tint to their powdery large white feathers. My female cockatoo, Buddy, looks like she is wearing blue eye shadow. She has a dark brown iris, which blends into her pupil, making it difficult to see where her attention lies. She looks impressive, acts like a sweet clown, but like people can have her moods.
Earlier this year Animal Planet released a book titled, “Cockatoos?by Carol Frischmann. The book, in regards to Moluccans, says their pet potential is tempting due to the fact that many of them respond positively to touch and cuddling. “However, the owner must teach these birds to play independently,?Frischmann added.
The book explores topics such as Considering a Companion Cockatoo, The Stuff of Everyday Life, Eating Well, Looking Good, Feeling Good and Being Good. The book also briefly talks about cockatiels the smallest member of the cockatoo family. My personal experience of keeping both cockatiels and a cockatoo would suggest to those that are interesting in keeping this family of birds to choose the small, common, yet entertaining, cockatiel.
A cockatoos’ noise level is another thing that can cause stress. Moluccans are known for being one of the loudest parrots. Thankfully my bird is not the loudest Moluccan I have encountered. The excited shrieking and ear-piercing vocalizations are one aspect of cockatoo ownership that even despite the best training, one can not completely avoid. In addition to being loud, their messy dander from their feathers and food dispersal methods require daily husbandry.
Some birds also become aggressive and/or obsessive. Buddy quickly bites at cardboard boxes, shredding them to small chips. She will also chase certain members of the family around the house. Hearing the 8 tiny nails on the floor and seeing her body sway side to side is comical, although her intentions are mostly likely not meant to be taken lightly.
Of course caring for her isn? all negative. At the end of the day, even if she has had an episode, she is always up for snuggle time. She will lift all of her feathers like large vents and collapse on your chest, marketing that she is ready to be preened.
Cockatoos are not known for their mimicry but daily in her own sing-song feminine voice I?l hear: “Pretty bird, Buddy bird, Hello?and “What are you doing here bird??It also seems when we are watching something funny on the computer she knows just when to unfurl her laugh like chuckle.
After reading Frischmann? book, “Cockatoos?I have decided to enrich my bird in a few extra ways. I have a few boxes of parrot? toys that Buddy isn? excited by anymore. I am going to goodwill them to another parrot caregiver and start giving my bird more fresh browse and branches to chew.
I enjoyed how the author laid out thinking toys, action toys, comfort toys and toys to destroy.
“Think safety first and variety second; this means good-quality toys with parts that are built for the power of your bird? beak,?Frischmann said.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the section of reading cockatoo body language. Amazons, African greys and even macaws all have tiny neck feathers and contrasting eyes. When excited you can see their feathers move in the slightest way or their eyes pinning. Since cockatoos?feathers are larger than those of many other parrots and less easy to interpret unless you?e had practice a caregiver, a cockatoo? will have to take in environmental considerations as well.
To learn more about these alluring birds you can check out this new book. I believe I heard it best, when I was at a zoo and they referred to parrots as the Parris Hilton? of the bird world: they are beautiful to look at, but are very (very) high maintenance.
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