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RESCUE LETTER OF THE
(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
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
When my son and I arrived to meet Sugar we went through the house
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
AMY - owned by Max-U2, Grendal-severe macaw, Gracie-timneh
Gabby- the quaker monster. :) and Cyrus-the nanday conure.
What a great site!
It gave us all the information no one else did ! We had been offered
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
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
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
( 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.
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?
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,
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,
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
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.
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
really are not just on the outside, but inside their beautiful souls.
Angela, Sean and Mila de Milo
It is heart wrenching to hear the story about "Joey"
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".