Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 49 guests, and 0 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Search

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#258218 - 03/26/15 10:00 AM "Baby" the U2 Comes To His New Home  
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
tew Offline
New Member
tew  Offline
New Member

Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
Hi everyone,

I didn't foresee it happening but I recently adopted a 24 year-old U2 named Baby. He hasn't been sexed but based off of his behavior, I am guessing he's a male. I plan to have him DNA'd soon. Baby was surrendered to a local bird rescue when his previous companion experienced health issues and was no longer able to care for him due to her old age.

I visited the bird rescue because I was looking for an addition to my flock but originally hoped to find a macaw that was drawn to me. There are already two other birds in my family - Rigby, a CAG, and Nickie B, my cockatiel I've had since I was 13. I purchased Rigby from a reputable breeder and he's a wonderful companion. Upon educating myself more on parrot care and behavior, I decided I wouldn't look to breeders or stores to find a new bird for our flock since there' so many in desperate need of a good home. I figure if you're in it to find a life companion then it shouldn't matter whether they're babies if you connect with the right bird. (I'm well-aware of the philosophy of this site and agree with it now that I've had my experience with Baby).

I've wanted a larger parrot since I was a kid and I thought my experience with Rigby, which has sometimes been challenging because of his anxiety, served me well to adopt a macaw or a cockatoo. I went to the rescue to find toys for Rigby and to browse the birds up for adoption as well as to look into volunteering. After seeing the macaws up for adoption at the rescue, I asked about the cockatoos.

It was then that I met Baby. I don't know what exactly drew me to him or what drew him to me but he perked up the minute I walked up to his cage. The volunteer said he he didn't behave like that normally and that he was usually completely shy. His lower chest was bare from picking but overall he looked healthy. His cage was entirely too small and the volunteer told me that his previous companion became too elderly to take him out on his stand so he stayed in his small cage most of the time. He eventually stepped onto my hand after a little coaxing and soothing words and after sitting with him for about two hours, we had bonded. I knew I couldn't leave him in such distress and felt right about adopting him. I would procure a much larger cage and get him what he needed. Meanwhile, I would enjoy a devoted companionship for life. I maintain basic knowledge of cockatoos from research and reading due to interest so I thought I could handle it and it would be fine.

Boy, was I wrong...No amount of reading can prepare you for what it's like to live with a rescued U2. I don't even feel like Baby had a honeymoon period at all. He immediately bonded with me and became instantly possessive of me, some of which I took for good signs. It wasn't even two hours after being home that I experienced first hand the intense, demonic vocalizations of a stressed out cockatoo. He walked around the entire house calling for his mama and screaming a pulsating cry that sounded like Satan was ascending from hell. Some of it was cute and precious, since he says "Hi Baby" and "Hi", "Momma", "I love you" and "where are you". He doesn't behave as if he was abused because it's clear his previous mom dearly loved him and showered him with affection - maybe a little too much. However, it seems like he's spent years in a small cage, deprived of his human partner. He screamed if I left the room for five seconds and when I tried to let him roam the house to explore, he strutted about, screaming even more. Needless to say, it was overwhelming to me, Rigby, Nick, and Devin (my Boston Terrier). He instantly raised the anxiety level of everyone in my house, most notably me. Baby finally stopped the overwhelming screaming a few minutes after I put him to bed. It had been reverberating through the house for two hours and I was exhausted and stressed. I decided I made a huge mistake and couldn't hack it. Could I really live like this for the rest of my life? I went to bed believing I would take Baby back the next day and fess up to my na´vetÚ.

I awoke later that night after some rest and couldn't stop thinking about Baby. I felt horribly guilty that I had agreed to care for him only to realize that it wasn't at all what I expected it to be. I decided maybe my intentions outweighed my abilities and I wouldn't be able to properly care for him. I was justified in retreating from this challenge (or more a duty) because I did so with incomplete information.

I wasn't being honest with myself. When I awoke later that night, I faced the fact that I had been wooed by Baby's cuddly nature in the rescue and that I was endeared by his attraction to me. In reality, caring for Baby entails much more than my love for his cuddliness. He has significant behavior issues due to neglect and I am admittedly directly inexperienced with caring for neglected large parrots despite my love of learning and reading about it. I realized this fact did not remove the duty I had accepted to care for him, even with his behavior issues and the inadvertent neglect he experienced in his past. I hadn't thought carefully about what caring for a rescue cockatoo would entail and I had barely begun the challenge when I was giving up on him. I resolved I was better than that and that Baby deserved better than that. I took to the web for research and eventually stumbled upon mytoo.com and this forum.

I can't express how much it's helped me. I learned this feeling is common among too owners and that there is this special, awesome responsibility these birds require that is keenly spiritual if you accept it. Baby is keenly aware of my emotional posture toward him and possesses an emotional capacity that overwhelms his ability to function. He seems to see me with a deep sense of trust when we haven't even known each other a week. It's overwhelmingly special. It's also overwhelmingly intense to care for him because of this. This site and message board helped me realize that my feelings were normal and with the right amount of patience and devotion I could succeed for Baby and help guide him to a healthier life with more assurance.

We're now about four days into the journey and I'm happy to report that attitude from the human changes everything when caring for cockatoos. I've learned that there's a function to Baby's behavior and I've intently worked on using emotional intelligence and environmental analysis to determine what he needs and what he must now learn. I also recognize he's probably been exhibiting some of these behaviors for dozens for what could be dozens of years and he may never fully be a calm, manageable bird. I'm okay with that but I am pleased at his progress in such a short time. He's finally in a much larger cage but he seems to be a little uncomfortable with it. It's clear the space and size overwhelm him. He adores being cuddled and being near me at all times and he clearly has no concept of existing independently of the person he's bonded with. I'm working on baby steps by having "Baby Time" and then having my time and ignoring his demonic calls for attention or responding to sounds that I can tolerate and that I would rather him use to check that I'm coming back or still near. I'm happy to report I can walk around the house away from him for brief periods without him screeching and it hasn't even been a week.

I'm so thankful he's in my life and while I know I have a lifetime of challenges ahead of me while caring for him and breaking him of his deep-seated bad habits, they'll be accompanied by lifetime rewards of companionship and devotion between us.

#258235 - 03/28/15 01:35 PM Re: "Baby" the U2 Comes To His New Home [Re: tew]  
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 15
countrymouse Offline
New Member
countrymouse  Offline
New Member

Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 15
Thank you for sharing the beginning days of your journey. It sounds familiar based on the many other stories that I have read. Our rescue cockatoo did not exhibit the same behavior as Baby, but has been an overwhelming presence with many hard, messy days.

It is something like adopting a foreign, frightened, teenage child. They don't know you, you don't know them. The only way to figure it out is time, and that takes time!

In my very limited knowledge you would be best to try everything. What I mean is, whenever you read or come across an idea that sounds like you might be able to try, try it. In the process of trying new things, experimenting, researching, and observation you will find what works for you and Baby. It may not work perfectly and there are going to be a lot of bad ideas too, but in the end you will find what defines your relationship. It will start to develop into your routine.

Thank you for rescuing this cockatoo. They need us. We, as a society, have neglected our duties as stewards of the animals and we owe them the extra time and patience they have long deserved. May your journey be full of learning and eventually love. Best of wishes! Peace.

#258239 - 03/28/15 10:51 PM Re: "Baby" the U2 Comes To His New Home [Re: tew]  
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
tew Offline
New Member
tew  Offline
New Member

Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
"An overwhelming presence" is a good way to describe these beauties! I appreciate that advice and the well-wishes. Trying to remember it's not a linear undertaking. Few things in life worth having are.

I'm also learning that general standards and practices (like ABA) are tools. They work but you have to have the patience to let them work and carefully examine how you impact the behavior of the too. It may be a long time before he's more manageable. Like you said, it just takes time, which in turn requires patience and devotion. Being selfish is easy. Being empathic to another (sometimes overbearing) species is the true challenge!

A fellow cockatoo keeper recently described it as giving him skills to successfully live with other human beings. He's currently screaming his head off because I'm enforcing his independent time. The ear plugs I bought sure help to ignore it until he pipes down, and he's starting to notice that it doesn't work like it used to. Here's hoping...

I spoke with the rescue again about his history and his previous companion pretty much had him with her all the time throughout the house. He's only ever had one home, and his only really problematic behavior is screaming when he doesn't get to be on me. She carried him on her shoulder and that's his preferred spot. I also want the same level of routine interaction with him but I can't have him on my shoulder 24/7 when I'm in the house. I also want him to learn to play on a stand and be with me instead of on me.

I'm certain she reinforced the screaming. He learned the more he turns up the heat, the more likely he'll get a response. It's modus operandi when he's not getting his way. Slowly but surely I hope to show him there's another way.


Moderated by  BE2Cassie, Beeps, EchosMom, Janny 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.021s Queries: 14 (0.004s) Memory: 4.9839 MB (Peak: 5.3044 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2018-10-16 17:16:42 UTC