Hi all, I'm new to this forum, but not new to birds. I own a B&G macaw and three African Grey parrots. On Thursday, I'm likely going to be adopting an estimated 8 year old Umbrella Cockatoo. Her current owner has had her for two years, and she has never been vetted in that time, so I will be taking her directly from the adopter's house to the veterinary clinic for a physical and for disease testing. If she doesn't test as having anything contagious she will be going home with me, otherwise I will be taking her back to her current owner along with her exam results.
I've met the bird once so far. She was timid when I first walked into the house, but after I sat on the floor for a few minutes she warmed up quite a bit, climbing down from her cage to nudge her head under my leg. She allowed head scratches and let me preen her pin feathers, something that she hasn't let her current owner do. After a few minutes she started head bobbing for me, so I stopped paying her active attention while I talked to the owner. After a bit she climbed back onto her cage. Later, she stepped up onto my arm from the cage and sat with me on the couch, allowing and asking for head scratches again. By the time I had to leave and put her back, she looked like she was about to fall asleep, and had her happy feathers up. She likes me, I like her, and I feel like she would be a good fit.
I've never owned a cockatoo, and had never even held a large cockatoo before meeting this U2. I had been playing with the idea of getting a cockatoo for a while, but didn't think about it seriously until this U2 popped up on my radar. Now I'm smitten, but at the same time I'm just a little bit worried after all of the horror stories I've heard. I do work from home, and need at least a couple of hours of relative quiet (literally just two hours would do, and they don't even have to be consecutive) every day to do my work. Even with all of the birds and dogs I have already, my home is a relatively quiet one until someone drives up the driveway or I walk out of the room without bringing the birds with me. I don't mind a bit of screaming during the morning and evening, or when something exciting is happening, but when I hear stories about cockatoos screaming ALL DAY, I know that might be an issue for me if it was something the bird did long-term (though the current owner does say she's not particularly noisy for a 'too). The U2 will be caged in my home office along with the greys, so she will still have plenty of interaction during these times that I am working, even if she's too mischievous to be out while I'm actively paying attention to my work and not to her.
I'm also a bit wary of being bit. One of my greys is a habitual biter, but I'm used to him and he generally isn't serious about it, and my macaw has never drawn blood on me, and generally only nips me when I've left her in her cage for longer than she thinks I should have, but cockatoo beaks just look so much worse than grey and macaw beaks. I'm sure once it happens I'll be less nervous of it, but I'd really rather not lose body parts to this -- or any -- bird.
I do live in the country, and though I have neighbors right across the street, they didn't even know I had a macaw until they came over a while ago, so sound probably doesn't carry to them very well. I have experience with large parrots and as I said, I work from home, so in many ways I feel that I am an ideal home for a large cockatoo. My birds are generally out whenever I am home and awake, besides the occasional "break" in their cage while I'm doing something with the dogs, or am doing something else that they shouldn't participate in. That's not to say that I never leave the house, because of course I do, but there are many days that I don't and generally if I do go out, it's after dark. I do go away for dog related events a couple of days at a time, a few times a year, and I have a family member stay to watch the birds and the dogs that get left behind. It hasn't been an issue so far with my current birds, but I'm not sure how a cockatoo would handle something like that.
I guess I'm just asking for opinions before I get this bird. What am I getting myself into? Are they really so much more difficult than other birds? Is anything I said a major red flag to you knowledgeable folk? Thank you, and I'll keep an eye on this post to answer any questions as they come up.