Posted Feb 04, 2015
My Cockatiels are named Harley and Fatboy. They came to me with those names, their previous owner having a penchant for the famous motorcycle.
In the bird world the ones with the most vibrant colors are the males. Fatboy – the male – has the bright yellow head while Harley’s – the female – coloration is not as prominent. Harley and Fatboy are called Normal Grey Cockatiels. My previous Cockatiel was Lutino - white with bright yellow head.
One of the most important things to remember when considering a bird as a pet is that they live a LONG time!! The previous owner is a friend of mine and she had these birds since they were babies. When she retired and started traveling, she wanted to find a great home for them because she did not want them left alone. I had previously had a Cockatiel so she asked if I would like to have Harley and Fatboy. My Lutino died due to complications with laying an egg – all rather suddenly and before I could get to a vet – it was very sad.
Harley is more friendly than Fatboy. Harley will stand on my daughter’s finger inside the cage but that is about it. Fatboy wants nothing to do with standing on anything but his perch. Birds are best trained when they are very young to interact and stand on your hand, etc. The Lutino I had was young when I got her and she would ride on my shoulder, play with my son who was about 4-5 at the time, and stand on top of her cage. Because I have a cat and dog and Harley and Fatboy’s wings are not clipped, I do not let them out of their cage. Luckily, they have a great big cage so they aren’t cramped. If your bird’s wings are clipped and you let them out of the cage, expect to find bird poop in numerous places. Just sayin’.
Cockatiels can get bored so having lots of toys in their cage is a must. Plus a Cuttlebone so they can keep their beaks from growing too long. They need a nutritious diet which can be provided through commercial Cockatiel food. If you start them young, you can feed your Cockatiel fresh fruit and vegetables but be sure to research this first as Cockatiels can be sensitive to some foods. There are fantastic websites that will help you with the exact care and feeding of Cockatiels. Do your research!
Cockatiels can be taught to whistle tunes – a friend of mine had one that would whistle the tune to the Andy Griffith show and mimic the telephone perfectly. I have also heard of some that can be taught to talk but Cockatiels are not known as talkers. They chirp and whistle and can be VERY loud at times. Harley and Fatboy whistle loudly every time they hear a siren, whether on the TV or outside. They will also answer my whistling. In the morning when the cover is taken off their cage, they whistle and chirp and welcome the day.
If you are looking for a fairly easy bird that has the option of learning to socially interact with you, Cockatiels are relatively inexpensive (comparatively) and easy to care for. Just be sure you understand they live a long time and do need to be part of the family. Even though mine do not come out of the cage, we interact with them all the time.