Posted Sep 25, 2014
Cockatiels have perhaps the most variable personality of any parrot. Some of the sweetest birds I’ve met have been cockatiels. So have some of the least personable.
One of the crankiest cockatiels I’ve ever met was the one that I grew up with. She was a family bird that my parents had gotten when my sister and I were kids. My mother had spent hours trying to get this bird to step up. She never did.
We had a bird playground for her that my parents had gotten because they thought their cockatiel would want to spend all her time outside of the cage. Instead poor Sunny nearly had a stroke any time she was out.
Cockatiels aren’t especially active and don’t need a particularly large cage as long as they get time out of it. They’re healthy and easy to feed. My mother was always trying to get ours to eat fresh vegetables, but Sunny refused to eat anything wet. Luckily, she did fine with seed and dried greens.
She liked people being around, but not in her immediate vicinity and definitely not in her cage. When she thought a hand was getting too close she’d give a nasty nip that didn’t do real damage, but always drew blood.
Cockatiels are uniquely entertaining when they are annoyed. Any time someone was moving something Sunny didn’t like too near to her cage she’d flare up her crest and start hissing. She thought she was being threatening, but really it was just adorable.
Despite her wretched personality, everything about her was cute. She was a beautiful lutino and a lot of fun to watch playing with her toys. While she disliked most people, she loved my father and would preen his beard and mimic his whistling. Sunny was a horrid companion bird, but was still the highlight of our living room.
I’ve met other cockatiels that loved everyone and were downright cuddly. I’ve also met others like Sunny. If you’re getting a cockatiel as a companion bird you definitely want to spend some time with the individual bird before bringing them home to make sure their personality fits the bird you’re looking for.
The right cockatiel with proper socialization can be an amazingly sweet companion and even the nasty ones are beautiful, fun additions to a home.