Posted Feb 17, 2009
I adopted a cockatiel from a rather dysfuntional environment. The poor bird had been through a lot and its cage was literally caked with waste when I got him. He was obviously very interested in mimicry and learned to cluck back at me within a week. Soon after he began to whistle Dixie and the Andy Griffith tune. He learned Jingle Bells in about a week. He also mimics the pattern of words said but doesnt actually talk per se. If you say "shut up" he comes back with "ba ba" which is close but not really talking. I have heard that very few cockatiels do talk so I am impressed with what he does as is.
My sister also has a cocaktiel (female) which does not whistle tunes or mimic but is hand trained. The female appears to have much less personality than my male does. She is one of the "pied" type where my male is a normal gray. He is also very small in comparison with her female, I guess because he was home hatched and her female came from a pet store (probably from a breeder). My male is just now becoming somewhat hand trained but I doubt he will ever allow himself to be pet, there was just too much trauma previously for that kind of trust.
Loco is unfortunately a screamer though. If he something is different or other people come to the house he has to be covered because he screams a blue streak. He can be heard outside the apartment, out to the parking lot, all the way to the mailboxes. My sister's cockatiel is very quiet, probably because she has another bird (some kind of small parrot). Loco and my sister's bird "flappy" will be mating this spring. Loco has met with flappy and he loves her dearly.