Thursday, February 8, 2018


Klara Cockatiel, 2004
Photo  by włodi 
Owning a cockatiel is not something that I ever thought would interest me. I am a dog lover. In fact, I will go out of my way to pet a dog. But not a cockatiel. Until...

A time came when I moved into an apartment that did not allow dogs, which was fine because I didn't have one at the time. But, it just so happened that a friend of mine had a cockatiel that he needs to give to someone who had time to take care of it. So I graciously took my new companion just to have some kind of a pet. Was I ever in for a surprise.

I didn't really know much about them, but I figured that a bird was a bird. Not at all true. There are some, like cockatiels, that are very drawn to human beings and make excellent pets, as well as friends. They are so full of personality that you can actually develop a personal relationship with them.

My cockatiel's name is Miss Birdie. I know, not really original, but if you knew her you would agree it fits. She is very much a "miss priss". She thinks she is the cat's meow (oops, bad choice of words).

She likes to ask a lot of questions. When I'm doing something she is not used to seeing, she will start to inquire as to what's going on. When I go into a different room she will call out to see where I am. If she sees me eating, she figures it's time for her to eat, too. If I turn off my computer, she knows it must be time for bed, so she will station herself on the appropriate nighttime perch and give me her little goodnight talk.

If I sneak up on her in the dark, she will hiss at me as a warning. She loves to 'duke it out' when I playfully thump her beak. She fights back as if she has a chance to take me. She will lower her head, step back and forth on her feet and flare out her wings to make herself look bigger. After a little tussle like that, we make amends while I lightly stroke the side of her head (over the ear coverlets) or flick her crown. They seem to find that very stimulating.

She loves to sit on my shoulder while I'm working at my computer. She makes this little purring sound like a kitten (oops, I did it again - good thing she's not here now). Occasionally I will secure the room and let her fly around. She loves a good workout. If I don't do that for a while, she will flap her wings briskly in her cage to work up a good heart rate. My bird gets more exercise than I do. I guess she's smarter than me.

I do have a couple dogs now and they find her to be as interesting as I do and vice-versa. When she goes to flapping her wings for exercise, they will bark and cheer her on. When they start barking because they want to go outside, she will jump in and cheer them on.

Cockatiels can live nearly 20 years. I hope mine outlives me because I couldn't imagine life without my bird. She is family.

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