Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Bred bird myself,
Rescue / shelter organization
Posted May 07, 2015
I have worked with a great number of cockatiels over the years, especially in the capacity of working with a bird rescue. The cockatiel is a fun, bright, pretty species, with few of the downsides of the larger birds.
On the good side, the cockatiel is fairly low maintence. Their diet is readily available and inexpensive, they do not require as much space as a larger parrot, and they do not require quite as much attention. They are, however, bright enough to learn simple tricks and to step up and be held. They do love to interact and can be quite loving and playful. They do like socialization, and will get along with other cockatiels very well; in fact, I recommend having at least two, especially if you have a busy schedule.
On the other side, like all birds, they can be loud. I find their song pleasant, as many do, and they certainly are not as loud as, say, an African Grey or any of the larger parrots, but they are not a silent pet. Additionally, they do not "talk" and are not the best of mimics. They are not messy, but if left unattended out of the cage they can be mildly destructive, and their beak can break the skin if you are bitten.
I personally recommend this species for a first time bird owner or someone who does not have a lot of space. They are certainly a good "trainer" bird for someone who is trying to decide if they want to make the huge commitment of getting one of the larger, long-lived parrots.