MyToos.com
MyToos.com
MyToos.com

Home | Cockatoo Article Library | Message Board | Letters | Rescue | Announcements

RESCUE LETTER OF THE WEEK
(These Rescues may have taken place in the past but are new to this website)


1 Died - 1 Lived

My husband came home from a business trip about a year and a half ago with a Cockatoo and an Amazon Parrot in their cages tucked in the back of his truck cab. The Parrot -- Red -- almost instantly bonded with Andre. But Buddy, the Cockatoo, was a tough nut to crack. He and a second Cockatoo had been owned at one time by a tough biker dude. The two of them made so much noise that the biker wrung the neck of bird #2 right in front of Buddy and tossed the poor dead bird in a corner.

Needless to say, Buddy was scarred. He was the most frightened critter I've ever seen. Whenever we'd approach his cage, he'd high tail it to the farthest corner to get away from us. Believe it or not, he didn't even make much noise for the first six months.

Well, Andre has built Buddy and Red nice big cages with lots of climbing space. Red goes for rides on Andre's shoulder whenever he heads into town to buy food or beer. Buddy will take food from my hand now and even helps me rehearse operas in Italian for music festivals (although his pitch leaves a bit to be desired!). These two guys are now our lifelong friends and responsibilities. We don't even go away for vacations now because our birds wouldn't be very happy without us.

Thanks for your site! Keep telling it like it is. Life with these wonderful feathered friends can be good but only if you're prepared to do the work and spend the love. Donna L. G.      


       

Here is Sugars short story.

Homeowners in the Lake Elsinore area had been hearing some awful noises for a couple of weeks and one day it was so bad they knew something awful was happening and went to investigate.  They found the noise coming from a house that had been abandoned for over a month, when they went into the back yard they found 2 Cockatoos in a cage together with no food or water. No idea how long they had been there but from the look of things it had been quite a while. Both birds were almost totally feather less, skinny, and bloody. They were both taken to a vet where one of the birds died. Sugar decided she wasn't going to die and fought for her life with every bit of strength she had remaining. Thanks to her strong will  and determination after 4 months with the vet she was finally strong enough to leave. However a Too with no feathers, scabs all over her body and still in need of allot of medical help is hard to find a home for. The vet was at the point that if someone didn't adopt Sugar they were going to get rid of her so she was taken in by the a family that has taken in strays before. They had her for two months and had her on Prosac and a collar.

This is where I was introduced to Sugar. I was looking over the posts on one of the bird boards and noticed someone had a rescued Too that was in desperate need of a home. I was told she was healthy and that she had picked some feathers from her chest and that If I wanted to come see her they would explain everything then.

When my son and I arrived to meet Sugar we went through the house onto the patio and immediately I saw a Grey and 2 Toos all somewhat picked but not bad, as I got further onto the patio I saw another bird off to the right, and was informed that was Sugar. I was not at all prepared for what I saw. She just looked so awful, almost no feathers, scabs on her chest, back, legs and wings, a large open wound on her chest and when she spreads her wings she looked more like a bat than a Too. I really wasn't prepared for this, and had never seen anything like it. As we approached the cage I could see she was scared to death and at this point though about just leaving but something about those eyes keep me there.

The cage she was in was quite old with peeling paint. She had no toys in the cage and was on an all seed diet. When I opened the cage door and moved away she ran to the top of the cage. I sat on the ground next to her cage and just started talking to her. After about 15 min. she calmed down and climbed down to the cage door and just glared at me. For the next hour I talked to her, laughed at her, and wondered how bad her life had been. Suddenly she moved down her cage door and leaned towards me, when I reached out she very slowly placed her foot on my arm, then the other never once taking her eyes off mine. Finally she was on my arm, I was almost in tears, I looked over at my son and his eyes were watering, At that moment I knew this poor ugly duckling was coming home with us.

Her first month here she had 6 visits to the vet, been treated for an infection and had surgery for the open wound on her chest. She is currently wearing a collar while the surgery heals.

The cost of this along with her new cage, toys etc. has been well over 3,000.00. I have not regretted a single minute of it.  Sugar is the sweetest most loving intelligent bird I have ever met. She has completely fallen in love with our entire family, as we have with her.

She has gone from not even looking at her fresh and cooked foods to devouring them. She has learned to play with her toys finally, and is very happy in her new and last home. I am amazed daily at her progress both physically and emotionally. Every new feather almost brings tears of joy, and to see her hop up and down and dance with excitement or call me just brings so much joy. I feel so blessed that we found each other, and so sad at the same time that there are so many birds that have had it worse and my never be rescued.

Sorry to go on so long, but I could go on even more, but I won't :)

Jim  


Ziyal, the Rescue Of A Moluccan Cockatoo

 "What kind of creatures are we?"

Ziyal was born as 'Nikki' to an obviously loving handfeeder. She probably was sold to a pet shop, then soon after was bought by someone who loved her very much. For her first few years of life, Nikki was probably spoiled and very loved. But unfortunately for her, something in her owners lives changed, and she found herself in a new home....and after some time of getting used to her new family, Nikki was again uprooted and had to adjust again to a new family.  Well, she didn't want anything to do with it. She was scared, lonely, and beginning to learn not to get too close to anyone because her life would probably change again soon. And change it did.

 Nikki. who was about 8 years old, once more had to adapt, but this time it was different. She didn't have gentle hands to cuddle her - she had an older  Moluccan male who wanted to mate with her. Nikki liked his gentle preening, but was too young and too people oriented to know about 'the birds and the bees'. She did not welcome her mate's advances, she just wanted to be left alone. Her mate became more and more aggressive, and soon began to batter Nikki. Thankfully the breeder separated the two before he could kill Nikki  (he had killed his last mate, and the one before that).

The breeder had good intentions - another mate was to be purchased and slowly introduced to Nikki - visions of baby Moluccans and the dollars they would bring danced in the breeders mind.

So here was Nikki. She once was adored, cuddled and treated as one of them family. Seven homes and eight years later, here she sat.  Thoughts like "Why is it that whenever I start to trust someone, I get sent away? Why did that other bird want to hurt me? Why am I all alone in this cage, locked in night and day with nothing to do? What is the matter with me? Why can't anyone love me?" filled her mind.  She was scared, alone with no hope.

The breeder could not find a male Moluccan that was suitable (he wanted a young male, but did not want to pay too much for it) so Nikki was off once again to another temporary home - a pet store somewhere in the Toronto, Ontario area. Time went by, and a nice, older man bought Nikki. The older man gave Nikki to his wife as a gift with the hopes that caring for Nikki would bring them closer together. The couple, whose children were all grown up, were having marital problems, but loved Nikki and treated her like a child. They gave her love, good food, and lots of toys. Nikki was finally happy.  Unfortunately, Ziyal's story doesn't end here.

 A few years went by, and the couple were fighting a lot. The nice old man wasn't so nice anymore, and the wife was never home. Nikki began to feel neglected. One day the wife left, and never came back.  'Divorce' was the word that brought Nikki's happy, contented life to an end. The old man began drinking, and ignored Nikki for days. Nikki tried to cheer him up with her singing, but it just made him more angry. She begged for cuddles, but instead of love, she felt the sting of the old man's hand hitting her. "Shut up, you dumb f***ing bird" he would say as he hit her. (I know this because she this phrase a few times in the beginning when she begged me for attention and I didn't respond right away)

Nikki, now afraid and confused, called for the wife. After a couple of days of calling, being hit, calling some more, being hit more, the old man put her in a closet. There in the dark, Nikki sat. No more wife who gave her cuddles and good food. No more sunlight. Her world was now a cage in a dark closet, sunflower seeds for food, clean water every few days, and nothing left to do.

Nikki began to occupy her time by preening. Preening became more interesting if she shredded her feathers. Shredded feathers were too itchy, so Nikki pulled them out. "Pulled feathers are fun to play with...l think I'll pull some more out to play with" she must have thought. With no more feathers, Nikki's skin became dry and irritated. Scratching was not enough, so sh began to bite her skin until it bled. "Hmmm... a new thing to do! I can make myself bleed, and it feels good to be the one in control of my pain. I can make myself hurt, and if I keep at it, maybe the old man might pay some attention to me!"

The old man remembered to feed and water Nikki one awful day, and he saw what she had done to herself.  His Ex-wife was gone, his children were gone, evenmhis bird was trying to leave him by dying.

Remorsefully, his hand reached in to gather Nikki up and hold her. He wanted to apologise to Nikki.

Nikki was terrified that his hand was going to hit her again.  From somewhere deep in her soul she decided she had gone through enough.  With every ounce of strength she could muster, she took a stand. She bit that awful hand and shrieked as loud as she could. The old man, drunk and angry, grabbed Nikki's wing. A sound that Nikki had never heard before echoed in the air. The old man had broken her wing. He closed her cage door. "It's your own fault, you f**ing bird,"  he told her as he closed the closet door.

Days went by, and the pain began to fade. Nikki had decided as her wing was broken that she will never trust another human as long as she lived. "Humans live to hurt you. Humans only love you until something better comes along.  Humans abandon you. Humans are the most evil thing that lives. Humans cannot be trusted at any cost," she must have thought.

The old man once more tried to get Nikki out for a cuddle. She held on to her perch tight and yelled at the old man. He grabbed his lighter and placed it under the pads of her feet to make her step up.  Her skin blistered and burned, but she held on tight. The pain was excruciating. When he finally gave up and left her in the darkness once again, she fell off her perch in agony.

Once again the old man wanted to make amends. His daughter was coming to visit him, and he wanted everything to be the way it once was. He opened the closet door and once again tried to get Nikki to step onto his hand, but Nikki was too weak from her wing fracture and her lack of food. She was on the bottom of her filthy cage, lying in her own droppings. The old man gently picked her up, and maybe he even said he was sorry.

Nikki somehow managed to find some strength, and once again let out a blood curdling screech. The old man had had enough. In a drunken rage, he threw Nikki across the room and into the corner of the wall. Nikki felt her keelbone break as she fell into blackness.

The old man's daughter came over that day. She found her father drunk, asleep on the couch. There was blood on the wall. There was blood on the floor. She followed the trail of blood droplets to her mother's closet, and when she opened it, she saw Nikki. Within minutes Nikki was at the Vet's office. Nikki's broken body could be fixed, but she may not live.  Nikki's broken spirit would probably never heal. Putting Nikki to sleep seemed like the only option for her, but Nikki caught a tech's attention, and soon the word was out - Nikki would be operated on if someone could adopt her, and keep her forever. No money was to exchange hands, only the assurance that Nikki was going to stay with me for life.

In February 1998, I drove home from Toronto with a very angry, very abused Moluccan Cockatoo. She hissed the entire 6 hour drive.  Nikki's first few days with me were fairly unremarkable, she stayed in the back of her cage most of the time and hissed at everything and everyone. She took her antibiotics and Haloperidol with very little fuss. The only time she really became uncontrollable is when she heard her name. Calling her Nikki would send her slamming against the bars of her cage, so after a lot of thinking, I settled on the name Ziyal (zee-al), or Z (zee) for short. I also did something that I don't recommend - I gave her total freedom. Her cage door was removed, and to this day I have NEVER locked her in her cage.  The vet removed Z's stitches, and with her help, we weaned her off of the Haloperidol (an anti-psychotic drug) and introduced Z to a balanced diet.  After she gained a bit of weight, and some strength, and she could once again tolerate the light (months of darkness affected her eyes) I began to work on her 'soul'. I hate to use the term 'rehabilitate' because it reminds me of convicts who have done a vile deed and must be rehabilitated in order to rejoin society.   Z is not a criminal, she is a victim.

My first step was to show her that I was never going to hurt her. I like to use reverse weaning to accomplish this, so I handfed her with a spoon, and soon she began to beg for food. While she would eat, I would talk gently, and give her scratches. By the time Z was 3 months old (I think of Feb. 2nd as her birthday - the start of her new life) she was letting me cuddle her. She began to sleep on the edge of my pillow at night, and call for me if I left her alone. I had to take her everywhere. She was bonding to me very nicely.  Her first moult was a very trying time. She began to pluck out her new feathers, and self-mutilate, so I had to put a collar on her. She began to test her boundaries, and tried to find out what she could get away with. Z was really starting to blossom into a wonderful companion. She was into everything, and was starting to play with her toys. Her feet were all better, and she began climbing apple branches that I brought in the house for her.  She even began to say "Hello".

Z has been with me for over a year now, and she is truly a joy. She is still afraid of men, and still is afraid of new people, new things, new food, but as long as I am near her, Z's confidence allows her to meet these new situations and explore the possibilities they present. She has developed a wonderful zest for life, and loves to play. She chases the cat, she insists on cuddle time, she 'helps' with my daily chores by chasing the broom,shredding my dishtowels, eating my wooden spoons, and gets into all sorts of mischief.

Ziyal has brought so much to my life, and has taught my children firsthand about the power of unconditional love and what it can do. She may not look very pretty to most people, but to me she is the most beautiful bird in the world, both inside and out.

Julie jewelofthegnarf@aol.com


   

Meet "PB" ................... The story that came w/PB was one of a dark basement and neglect. He still doesn't have the sense of night and day that the others have. He will have conversations in the pitch dark with himself. Fortunately we came in contact with PB and are able to provide him with a wonderful home and vet care. He is mentally improving, however he has damaged the folloicles.   He will always be bald. The good news is he isnt picking what few he has left now and is preening and grooming what feathers he has left. Also with a corrected diet he is now in good health (according to last vet visit). As I write this PB is on one of his driftwood perches eating a treat.  I can almost read his mind,"life is now good" "every day groceries,clean water and attention". Education of potential owners is the key. Keep up the good work

Melody & Richard


Here is Sydneys story.

Sydney was bred by some people in the Simi Valley area of Southern California.  I am told he was purchased by a young man as a newly weaned bird.  This young man made Sydney the center of his universe.  He took Sydney with him almost everywhere he went.  A couple of years went by and now this young man met a woman.  Less time was spent with Sydney.  After a little more time the man and woman got married and the next thing, a baby was on the way.  After the baby was born Sydneys screaming was found to be disturbing to the baby, so Sydney was put in his cage (a very small cage in my opinion, referred to as a "cockatoo cage but is only about 2+  x 2+feet wide and maybe 4 feet tall) and literally locked in.  Apparently Sydney was kept like this for two years.  When he was brought into the store for consignment his owner had no idea where the keys to the locks had gotten to over the years, so they cut the locks.   His cage was over one foot deep in guano and food.  He was of course fully flighted and his toenails were so very long.

I met Sydney at the store the week he arrived.  I thought he was the most beautiful bird I had ever seen.  The sense of sadness about him was so great though.  He seemed so utterly confused at where he was.  I started coming to visit him about once a week.  He seemed to like me.  One day I got too close and he bit me on the lip, but I remained his faithful visitor.  The manager of the store told me of what he had been through in his short 5 years of life.  After about two months in the store, Sydney decided he had enough of bratty little kids annoying him.  In one week he bit two children.  The ownerof the store said Sydney had to go.  I got a frantic call from the manager that day.  She said if I didn'tbuy Sydney that he was going back to his owner who had said he would just put an ad in "TheRecycler" for him and "get rid of him".  I had an African Grey at the time, and had never seriously entertained having such a huge bird.  However, being the sucker that I am, I could not standthought of him going to that situation and then probably going to someone who had no idea aboutcaring for birds.  Besides, I had read all those articles about how Cockatoos are such love sponges. How wonderful to have a sweet cuddly bird in my life.

Sydney came home to me after having his vet check and blood work.  I quarantined him in the back bedroom for three months.  He seemed at first really lovely.  Then the problems started when I would have him step up on my arm for me to return him to his cage.  As he would step down onto his cage perch he, without warning, attacked me.    I then made the mistake of reading a book called "My Parrot, My Friend" which reccomended that when a bird bites you, don't react and try to hold still while they bite.  Have you ever had a Moluccan commence trying to "scissor" through your wrist? After disengaging a dangling Cockatoo from my wrist I decided I had enough of books.

After Sydney was out of quarantine I had avian behaviorist Chris Davis come out.  This bird reminded me of anautistic child, and wouldsit there with one toy clutched in his foot and repetitively just chew chew chew, for hours. He had no concept of playing and at times would get so angry he would bite hisown foot!  On the advice of one vet I put him on "rescue remedy"  (as opposed to another vet who prescribed prozac) and began making up interactive games with him. I bought as big a cage as I could (Animal Environments McCaw sized cage) a huge play gym and then put his old Cockatoo cage nextto that followed by a perch stand.  I broke off branches from trees and gave him all sorts of toys.

Six years have gone by.  I believe I have as well adjusted Male Mol2 as one could have.  I gave up the thought of having him ever up on my arm. I cuddle and love him on his play area, or wheel his perch next to the sofa and love on him there.  He is out of his cage on average 12-15 hours a day. I own a horse ranch so I leave him out while I am down at the barn, and I am up in the house many times during the day.  I cook for my birds three times a day, and remove cooked food after twohours.  Pellets of course are available at all times.

Besides having been involved in dog rescue my whole adult life, I train horses professionally, and do barnyard animal rescue.  My point is, I am truly the ultimate animal person.  This bird more then tries even my patience at times.  I hope the day will come when these birds are removed from the "pet trade".

Thank you for being so frank on your website. Had I seen it before Sydney came to live with me I would have at least gone into this with my eyes wide open.

Sincerely, Dorann LaPerch    


Another Rescue 3-31-2001

Timothy is our newest member of the flock and is around 10 years old. He had lived in a pet store for at least 5 years. The owner would tell anyone who asked that he was already sold, so eventually, people stopped asking. In the summer, he would be wheeled to the curbside to attract customers, often staying out in the 110*F heat all day, with just seed and a little water in his cage. He had no toys and no freedom to roam, always stuck in his round filligreed pig iron cage. When he was in the store, he was always hidden between the front door, which was propped open, and the puppy cages. It was hard to get a good look at him because of all the stuff that was piled around his cage. The owner looked at him as a commodity, not a living being. Remarkably, Timothy never became phobic and never started plucking. He did learn how to scream and make a multitude of dog sounds, which he delights in making at full volume!

 One day, I noticed that the shop had changed ownership. I immediately went in to see what had happened to this creature and all the other birds that the previous owner would never sell ( 3 Blue and Gold Macaws, 1 Scarlet macaw, 1 Green wing macaw, 1 Quaker parrot, and 1 Goffins Cockatoo) of them looked bored and malnourished. Their cages looked like they hadn't been cleaned in months with 3 inch piles of doo-doo caked on the floor. The new owner had managed to change their diets, adding fresh vegies and fruit and a few pellets, but hadn't had enough time to upgrade the cages, yet. I asked about the M2 in the corner, she said he was now for sale. It took a few weeks, but with the help of my sister, (who had always wanted one of these majestic pink clowns) we finally succeeded in giving him the home he always needed.    

Another Rescue 3-31-2001

I just had to write and say what a great page that was on the cockatoos. I do have a male umbrella that was an import, and has been through at least 6 owners in the last 10 years. This will be his last. Apparently ALL of the other owners were those you talk about knowing nothing about any parrot! His last home was a garage in an abandon house where someone came by once a week or so to throw food at him and blow him off his perch with a water hose. I started working part time for a local pet shop, and it was the owner that had this bird. years before, I had remembered seeing him sitting outside of the pet shop doors... so I asked if they ever sold him...NO! the manager said, I told him, the boss, that either that bird was going or I was! (screaming) so I said, where is he then? Thats when they told me...I went ballistic!  I said, bring me that bird and let me see him! they did....and oh so "graciously" allowed me to BUY him for 600.00. but I had to do it. he was pitiful....but amazingly, fully feathered. He has been with me now for two years, and is healthy as he can be. The screaming every one complained about was him desparately trying to get someone, anyone, to let him out of that darn 22x22 cage with no toys! I still hear horror stories about mymmax...but at least now I know he is home...for good. Thank you again for your web site...I hope everyone thinking of getting a 'too finds their way here! sincerely. AMY - owned by Max-U2, Grendal-severe macaw, Gracie-timneh african grey, Gabby- the quaker monster. :) and Cyrus-the nanday conure.    

More Rescue

 What a great site!   It gave us all the information no one else did !  We had been offered  (for free!) a moluccan originally wild caught. He had been plucking himself for about six to eight weeks after the owners work regime changed and he was alone 9 hrs a day He has been with his present owner 20 years. After reading and re-reading your site we decided yes we would take him on and went to visit.  What a sorry sight. Half his breast and part of his back was naked, he had a cut on one of his nares and sat there quietly hissing. His owner said he must have fallen off his perch and cut himself.."He's always dropping off his perch, silly old bird"

Not surprising really...his perches were lengths of 1 1/2 inch polypipe. must be like trying to balance on a greasy pole!   I was told "waste of time giving him branches to perch on ....chews  em up " Nooooo...really?  For amusement he had a piece of polypipe hanging by a chain and a couple of levers hanging from another.......you got it ...wooden toys....waste of time...chews em up !

 He didn't come out of his cage as he wrecks the room..ate the drapes etc.. Apart from all this the owner seemed to really care for his bird,enough to let him go and see if he could have a better life elsewhere.  He is settling down with us,early days yet, but I was thrilled when he came up to me on day one as i was "perching" on the arm of the couch next to his cage with my shoulder pressed on the bars, (comfort and distraction "therapy" ) very gently took a nut from my fingers and offered his head for a scratch.The whole family take "turns" to interact with him  He is afraid to come out of his cage yet, backs off and hisses when asked to step up although makes no attempt to bite, but we are in no hurry. I want to take him at his own pace

I'm looking forward to him screaming.....sounds mad I know but I feel that when he starts screaming it will mean he is happier.  ("Displaying" is the word she means...webmaster)  He talks to me in soft whistles when we sit together. He is merrily chewing up his hardwood perches...also he has of your toys.  He's a bit wary of them yet.

Once again brilliant site. If it puts people off who may want a moluccan for the wrong reasons that can only be a good thing

     Pam.........and "Sidney"    


More Rescue

( condensed letter of Max, a 7 year old Lesser Sulphur Crested )

Some time back, a friend begged me to babysit for this cockatoo - Max -  until they could find someone to buy him.  The people that had him were moving out of their home and were going to leave him.  They were going to leave him in an old trailer with no air conditioning and let me tell you it gets pretty hot in south Louisiana in August.  I couldn't let him die could I?  I said yes I would babysit for a while and help them find someone to take him.  The breeder that I got Samson from was the first person I called for help and she told me I didn't know what I was getting into and to think twice before I did this not only was it a Cockatoo but it was older and may have some emotional problems or bad habits.

Well against all better judgment I went to pick up Max.  The first time I saw Max I almost cried.  He was so thin, his eyes were sunk in.  All he had in his food bowl was cheap dirty, dusty seeds.  He had no toys in his cage and only one perch.  The bottom of his cage was inches thick in droppings, old food and garbage.  His cage was kept in a dark corner of the trailer.  He came as close to me as he could get and stuck his little foot out to try and touch me.  He murmured to me and I was in love.  When I got his cage in the back of the truck and him in a carrier on the front seat, the woman says "oh yeah, he screams sometimes".  I pulled up in front of my home and my husband shook his head when I got out, but he was smiling..

I got Max and his cage in the house and all cleaned up.  We put him in the kitchen, a real high traffic area by a sunny window. I gave him new good food that of course he wouldn't eat because all he wanted was seeds.  I put a new perch in for him that he proceeded to eat and turn into toothpicks.  I gave him some of the toys that Samson wasn't interested in and of course he tore those up too.  After about 30 minutes of the whole family checking him out I covered him up to get some rest.  We were sure he was a bit stressed from all the excitement. I couldn't help myself and had to look at him again and again.  After the 3rd. time looking under the blanket, Max was right there looking at me and saying peek-a-booooooo.  He was too sweet.  Yes, he screamed for about 15 minutes at a time, two or three times a day.  I thought to myself*. How much more of this can I take?  He wouldn't eat anything good for him, just the seeds he was raised on.  He bit me once when I was scratching his head and hit a sore spot.  I bled a bit but it wasn't too bad, my thumbnail was intact  So here we are 6 months down the road.  I've got Max on a pellet, nutriberry and table food I can't believe the change in him.  I knew if I could get him to eat healthier his bad habits would somewhat diminish.  I can't how drastic the change has been. Roxanne  

My reply:

I so glad you found Max.  Your story is very common ...and to think what that poor creature had to go through before you found him.  He is very lucky (unlike many) to have you!  This is WHY is stress against cockatoo ownership for 99% of the people out there.  Do you blame me?

Sincerely Jerry


ELVIS

Thank you for your wonderful, informative site.  My husband and I have been going to our local pet store for the past six weeks to pick up supplies we needed for our snakes, and in the corner sat an umbrella cockatoo with a big sign that said "I BITE".

Everytime I would come in I would go over to the cage, and I would talk in a quiet, calm voice to the bird, and try to pet his head.  Finally, after about three visits he let me pet him.  The owner came running over, and told me to be careful because "Elvis" was really mean, and would probably take my finger off.  He told me his previous owner had abused him, and that were having a lot of trouble with him.  I told him I was ok, and that I worked with special ED kids, and that I had been bitten, punched, kicked and a lot worse before, and that Elvis and I would be just fine.  I started coming in every other day, and I would just talk with Elvis and pet his head and rub his claws, and it got to the point that Elvis would reach out for me when I came to his cage.

The owner kept lowering the price on Elvis, asking me if I was going to take him home, and reminding me how dangerous and mean he was, and that I needed to be careful because he was a killer.  Well sure enough, one day I had my finger in the cage, and Elvis decided it was time to eat it, and I let out a bloody yell and so did Elvis. The owner came running and said I told you he was terrible, nobody will every buy him.  I said I think he's wonderful, as blood went dripping all over the floor, he's just having a bad day and stop yelling, you're making him upset.

My husband and I talked about Elvis, and went online to read about the breed.  We knew we would have to make some changes around our house as we have five dogs, a cat, 3 snakes, 2 mice and iguana.  A little too much stress for Elvis.  We needed to decide if we had the time and money to make the changes, and if the kids were willing to participate in the changes.  Well everybody read up on Elvis and his needs.  We decided to build a run outside for the dogs and to keep the cat out of Elvis room.  So we went back to the pet store.

This time I asked for them to take Elvis out of the cage.  I thought they would die.  Take him out, he'll rip you to pieces, are you crazy.  The truth be know, Elvis has never been out of the cage in the pet shop to be held.  The only time he comes out is to sit on top while his cage is being cleaned because everyone is afraid of him.  So I  opened the door and put out my arm, and everyone backed away and Elvis crawled up my arm put his head next to mine and started rubbing up against my face.

For the next hour Elvis and I kissed and cuddled and licked tongues, and talked and had a wonderful time, while everyone who worked in the store stood in awe.  Then I made a big mistake.  I started walking away from Elvis's cage with Elvis.  It must have scared him because Elvis turned into attack.   Elvis and started biting me anywhere he could.  I got him back to his cage as quickly as I could but not before he got my nose and drew blood from my finger.  I very calmly, but firmly told him he was naughty, and he sat in his cage, and as if apolozing babbled away with his head down and his beautiful black eyes looking up at me.

Yes, I decided to buy Elvis, so I put a deposit on him, and I am busily looking for a cage and toys for him.  We are in the process of having the sprinkler system moved in the yard so we can put a run in for the dogs and have everything set up for when Elvis comes home.

I think he will be very happy here.  There is usually always someone around, and there are two really noisy birds that live next store that he can scream with if he feels the need to be vocal.  Besides sometimes I feel the need to scream myself, now I won't have to do it myself.

Suzanne Smith


Milo 1-18-2002

I didn't buy Milo I inherited her.  She is an 8 year old Molluccan. Milo has had as many as 4 homes and must have been hit in at least one (probably more).  My father-in-law took her in from a distant cousin who was nothing short of a brute!!!  The first day I met Milo was at my father-in-law's funeral, she was in a cage built for a helicopter not a bird.   The legs of the cage had been taken off so she was on the floor with 50 people standing around her, crest up feathers puffed up and looking miserable.  The Brute noticed that I was sitting on the floor in my funeral finery talking and cooing at her.  She had smoothed herself out and seemed to be enjoying the attention until he came and loomed over the cage ( at which point she flared up again).  The Brute began to tell what a bad bird she was how she would bite and hiss, then scream at the top of her lungs.  She had bitten his small child and he had almost killed her ("that bird could take off a finger and not even care").  After some inquires as to what was to be done with her I found out that she would go back to the Brute (who didn't really want her).  I started to beg every family member I could find to let me take her.  NOTE* At this point I only had a little lovebird, no experience no training and lived in a small apartment. But I knew that if I didn't take her, her life would be much worse, so two days later as my husband and I prepared for the 1400 mile trip home Milo came with us.

We had left the helicopter cage in S.C. so we put down some blankets and the pet carrier in the bath tub and hoped for the best.  The next morning was Sunday so when the pet store opened at 12:00 I was already outside the door.  I found the most monstrous cage I could and nearly passed out when I saw the 650.00 price tag.  I friend helped me get it home and we took out our dining table just to make it fit.  With Milo safely in her new home I set to work on finding out everything I could about her.  I bought and read every book and looked up web sites for help.

The Brute did have something's right about Milo she did bite, she shock constantly and didn't want anything but seeds. She didn't want to step-up or come out of her cage.  For about two months my husband and I would just sit outside her cage and talk to her.  Then one day I  took her to the  to get her nails and beak trimmed.  I cried as they pinned my beautiful bird down, she screamed and seemed to be crying too.  When it was done the vet backed off and let her go.  She came straight to me stepped up and plastered herself to my chest.  I cried even harder.  We sat there of 20 minutes while she calmed down, she just let me stroke her and talk to her.  I can't begin to tell how much I love her.  We still have our off days, she still doesn't like fingers, but after we get out of the shower she lets me preen her.  We talk and have a good time together, but I still feel like I am missing something.  She doesn't play with any toys I give her (although she does love to chew on her perch).  I have read that you need to teach her how to  play with her toys, but every time I try she seems more scared of my and then wants nothing to do with the toy.

Anyway, Milo seems to like me and maybe with time will come to love me as much as I love her.  Every week seems to be a little better than the last.  I really wish everyone could see how smart and beautiful these birds really are not just on the outside, but inside their beautiful souls.

Thanks , Angela, Sean and Mila de Milo


It is heart wrenching to hear the story about "Joey" http://www.mytoos.com/joey.html

I am a proud responsible owner of 2 Cockatoo's a 3 year old Umbrella named "Cody" that I purchased from my local pet store when he was still being hand fed.  When the breeder was sure that I was confident that I was able to feed Cody on my own only then would the breeder allow Cody to come home with me. Cody has taught me so much.

They are God's wonderful creatures and were not born into captivity by choice that is why we as responsible bird caregivers should understand the responsibilities that go along with owning such a complex animal. I also have a Citron Cockatoo that I rescued from a very bad situation. Her name is "Sugar" when I first met "Sugar" she was 1 of many (hundreds) of display birds at a local tourist attraction near to my home that a very close friend of mine works at part time. The attraction will remain nameless to protect those responsible for what I deem as improper care of their birds (just my opinion) and also to protect the job of my close friend. At times I would give my friend a ride to work and where I would have to drop my friend off ( behind the scene off limits to the public ) there was an area that was set aside for animals that could not be displayed for one reason or another. The area was mosquito infested and the birds were confined to small but probably adequate cages. Sugar and I hit it off and every chance I got I would spend time with her. She was plucking her feathers out of her chest and around her neck. There were little spots of blood in her plumage from all the mosquito bites she was getting. Alot of the times I would see her she would have no! food or water and if she did have water it was not fit to drink. Her diet consisted of only seeds when there was food in her dish which was rare when I would visit her. I started to bring my own food for her and I would feed and water her daily. I had asked the manager several times if they would be interested in getting rid of her and he was not sure. Then one day the manager approached me and asked me when I was going to take her and I wasted no time and said right now. He couldn't find the key to unlock the padlock that attached her hanging cage to the beams of this old porch so I wasted no time want to my truck and got some tools and took hook, lock, chain, cage, bird and all and I gave him no time to change his mind. We visited the vet even though she had been seen by the parks retired vet and she was quarantined and given a clean bill of health. She has stopped plucking her feathers (without a collar) and seems to be adjusting to her new life just fine. She has a century type personality which most people would find difficult to deal with being that she is always alert to what she perceives as potential dangers and doesn't delay in letting us know by sounding the alarm. She is even becoming more confident and is not as noisy as she was when I first brought her home.

I know now that I broke rule #1 when considering a cockatoo as a member of my family and I am glad that I did because chances are that if I had done my research first I probably would have questioned my ability to care for such a complex animal. The rewards of caring for these magnificent outweigh the demands for their care by far but  "I couldn't agree with you more when you say that it is not a responsibility for everyone."  

Your Fellow Too Lover,

Marc and Toos "Cody" and "Sugar".