Acquired: Pet store
Posted May 10, 2015
Cockatiels are loving, affectionate, playful, curious, intelligent, tactile, friendly, charismatic, amazing, and FUN. My first experience with a cockatiel was in a pet store. The attendant put him on my hand, he ran up my arm, and stayed on my shoulder until she took him off. I did not go home with a new friend that day, but I DID fall in love with the species. A year later, when I found myself in another pet store looking at a baby 'tiel playing with a little bell . . . well, that time, I did go home with a new pal. That was in 1995, and in 2015, my "baby" Nimbus is still my best birdy pal, and still going strong.
First caveat: Cockatiels *can* be loud, especially if they're looking for their owner, are demanding dinner, or simply want attention. Their noise level depends on your home's ambient noise level -- if your home is full of loud sounds, loud televisions, people shouting, the bird will naturally want to compete with that, and he will become even louder. Yelling back at the bird never works, and often escalates the issue. I've had great luck with speaking softly, offering him a treat, or taking him out of the cage for a friendly neck-scritch or a bit of playtime.
Second caveat: Cockatiels are dusty as all get-out. Their down feathers disintegrate into fine dust at the slightest provocation, it gets everywhere, and if you're prone to dander allergies, cockatiel ownership may not be for you. (Then again, I myself have asthma and numerous allergies, but as long as I take my allergy meds, keep his cage clean and give him semi-regular sprays of Ecotrition bird-bath (which works wonders in keeping the feather dust down), we're fine.
As with any pet, your level of cockatiel happiness depends on how much you're willing to put into the relationship. The right bird is worth a little bit of squawking or a sneeze or two. If you want a very social companion who'll be happy to sit on your shoulder and burble into your ear while you read, surf the web, or watch TV, the vivacious cockatiel is your choice!