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Cockatoo Adventures

BrianB

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I thought I would start another post about my interactions with cockatoos. We won't be adding the Triton to our flock so there seems no reason to add unrelated things to that conversation.

As I mentioned in the other post, cockatoos have been one of the few birds that make me nervous. I don't know their body language well enough to be able to read them and they seem consistently inconsistent to me. I don't own one myself, but they are beautiful and fascinating creatures. We've had some really sweet ones at the store, and some absolute monsters.

One crazy guy we have at the store is Kiwi, the Umbrella Cockatoo. He belongs to the store owner and travels back and forth with her each day. We have a running joke that you aren't truly an employee until you've been bitten by Kiwi. It's a right of passage. He has his own tree with a rope that stretches to the ceiling, and no other bird is allowed on that tree. There is a bit sign on it that says he does not like children and he bites. Now it's behind a fence so it's not like customers can just walk up to him, but he's capable of getting down if he really wants to. He doesn't like sandals or other open-toe shoes, and we keep an eye out for children wearing sandals because that's his prime target if he's down on the floor. We don't have any proof, but we think at some point a child beat him with a sandal or something along those lines and he's never forgotten or forgiven. Two years ago we had an employee that purposefully messed with Kiwi. He tied his shoe on his stand or something along those lines. I wasn't there the day it happened, but Kiwi took major offense to it. After that Kiwi would get down and hide under a counter waiting for this guy to walk by and then he would run out and bite him on the back of his leg. While not really funny we each shared a look over it because he earned it. Eventually, the guy left and Kiwi had no reason to do a sneak attack again. Since this guy and I have similar names and build I have gone out of my way to make friends with Kiwi. Prior to that, he was always hands-off to me. I would talk to him when I walked by, but never made any attempt to touch him. I started giving him treats and a scratch on the head when I walk by. Now I take him out of his carrier in the morning and makes sure he has food and water if it hasn't already been done yet. My plan has been successful, and it has backfired. Kiwi is now very friendly and sweet to me. When he gets fired up I'll go talk to him, offer a treat, and a scratch on his head. It always soothes him. He will sometimes make an attempt to jump down and I'll point at him and tell him he bad netter not. He changes his mind and in return, I give him a treat. If he sees his momma sitting down in the grooming area he will jump down and come over to her. Usually, someone yells that Kiwi is down and they all scatter to get away from him. Now if I sit in the grooming area for a few minutes, he will get down and come towards me. A few days ago he was on the counter playing with a quick link. He likes to unscrew them and then hide the connector in his feathers. He was doing that for a while and then he came over to me and started tapping his beak on my hand. I looked up at the owner and she said that's when he does before he starts to get dirty with your hand. So my plan to make nice with Kiwi just to keep him from biting me when I walk past has turned into me being the object of Kiwi's affection.

One of the things he does that cracks me up is that he screams profanities when he's outside. I always discourage people from teaching their bird to swear, but this is part of Kiwi's baggage so I just take it as it comes. He absolutely loves our toy vendor and she will put him on her shoulder and then go to her car to get things for us. As soon as he goes outside he screams WHAT THE heck! and F YOU! The toy vendor came back inside with him one day and she was laughing so hard she couldn't speak. She had parked behind the building and Kiwi had been screaming so loud that one of the guys from the tire shop next door to us came over to check on her. It was so clear and so loud that he could hear it from the tire shop and had to make sure she was alright.

Does anyone else have crazy stories about their cockatoos?
 

MR. Mango

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Loved to read about kiwi, do you have any pictures :rolleyes::shy::xflove:
 

scrape

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Sounds like Kiwi has a lot of personality!
 

rocky'smom

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I volunteered at veterinarian clinic so I got work with all sorts of birds. One of my favorites was Missy the M2.
She came to clinic as group of 5 parrots that was left in a rental property. The gas meter was going to be shut off when meter guy heard her screaming and running around in empty house. The bird room had hollow core door that Missy chewed a hole thru the alert whom ever came by the house that were birds left in that house. The shut off person alerted the county sheriff and the birds were brought to the clinic. All the birds were in tough shape but Missy was impacted and needed surgery.
She was such a character that she became darling of the clinic and was adopted by the receptionist/ book keeper. She could be a snuggle bunny one second and next second obnoxious as NYC cab driver. I use ride to clinic with 'G' and Missy alot. You needed to bring earplugs just in case Missy decided to have melt down in the SUV, on the way to the clinic. Some where in her previous life she learned a burgler alarm that she would use like a weapon if she was bored, ticked off or being ignored. She costed her family money any time she was left home and set off the alarm call. In my city it's $150.00 per call of false alarm. That why she came to work everyday with 'G'. She learn the door bell sound at the clinic and would say 'come in, how may I help you'. Or the phone ringing and answering it in 'G' voice. She was behind the reception desk in large floor to ceiling cage with movable T stand for time out of the cage.
'G' had 3 other toos at her house, 2 umbrella cockatoos and bare eyed. Ralph the big male U2 had only one person in his world that he loved that was 'G' hubby Joe. Ralph would do anything Joe and was devout in his love. But anybody else better mind their P's and Q's or risk a nasty bite from him. Gypsy was the other U2 and was her own girl. She was independent as the day was long. She tolerated humans but that was about all. She would snuggle when she wanted too but it was always her choice. She wasn't loud or rowdy. The quietest U2 I ever met. Buzzer/ Beep the bare eyed was never rowdy but could be extremely loud especially in the car and not moving. He also learned a dying battery chirp for smoke detector. He was use that for attention. I only got to work with those 3 while 'G' and her family were in Romania.
I really miss working with the toos.
 

BrianB

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Here is my girl, Daisey. I stopped into the store today to pick up some last-minute food supplies for when I'm gone. While I was there they asked me if I could get Daisey out of her cage. She won't come out for anyone else. I just opened the door and she said Step Up and jumped right onto my wrist. I gave her a few minutes of my time before putting her on the tree so she could get some socialization. I'm not sure what they will do while I'm gone. They could roll her cage out onto the sales floor I guess. Someone is going to have to start working with her to gain her trust and get her out of the cage. There was a man who was coming in to visit with her as a potential adoption, but he hasn't been back so I'm guessing he's not interested. It looks like some of the feathers on her back are starting to fill in and she's got some fuzzies on her chest. Maybe she will leave them alone and she'll get some down to fill in some of the bare patches. If anyone in Arizona is looking to adopt a sweet girl, let me know.

IMG_5058.jpeg
 

April

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Here is my girl, Daisey. I stopped into the store today to pick up some last-minute food supplies for when I'm gone. While I was there they asked me if I could get Daisey out of her cage. She won't come out for anyone else. I just opened the door and she said Step Up and jumped right onto my wrist. I gave her a few minutes of my time before putting her on the tree so she could get some socialization. I'm not sure what they will do while I'm gone. They could roll her cage out onto the sales floor I guess. Someone is going to have to start working with her to gain her trust and get her out of the cage. There was a man who was coming in to visit with her as a potential adoption, but he hasn't been back so I'm guessing he's not interested. It looks like some of the feathers on her back are starting to fill in and she's got some fuzzies on her chest. Maybe she will leave them alone and she'll get some down to fill in some of the bare patches. If anyone in Arizona is looking to adopt a sweet girl, let me know.

View attachment 404529
Her face is just so sweet,she just looks like she wants to be loved so badly :heart:
 

aooratrix

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I thought Orlando was fascinating. I've always had a soft spot for GSC2s.
 

Kassiani

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That sweet girlie needs a nice retired or work from home human to spend her days with and travel with :heart:

I hope she finds the perfect home!
 

scrape

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Aww sweet Daisy. I have a soft spot for naked birds. Too bad, I would visit her myself if I lived close.:awww:
 

scrape

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Daisy let one of the other guys take her out of the cage while I was on vacation. I’m really glad someone else can handle her now.
That's great! Sometimes they just need buttered up to step up;)
 

BrianB

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I'm always amazed at how resilient birds are and how well they adapt to what humans perceive as life-altering limitations. We have a cockatoo that boards with us that is disabled. I can't give too many details but some years ago something fell on her and broke her back, leaving her paralyzed from mid-chest down. The vets saved her life and she has adapted. She can't use her legs, but with a combination of her beak and the shoulders of her wings, she manages to climb her tree and hang out near the top. She climbs up and down when she feels like it. There are some women that she doesn't seem to like and she will bite if given the chance. She does get fed by hand 3 times a day using a bird formula and a syringe, but we also scatter some seed and pellets around for her and she moves herself to get what she wants. She lets us know when she's hungry, and anytime she squawks outside of her regular feeding usually means she wants water and we give it to her using a small syringe. When she's had enough she just turns her head away. We give her appropriate toys and she plays with them as she likes. They are usually shreddable toys that she can chew up. She seems to know that we are there to help her, but considering she's a cockatoo, she may look at us like we are servants. She gets bathed frequently to keep her bottom clean. Due to the way she sits she breaks tail feathers frequently. This evening she broke a blood feather and it had to be removed. I scratched her head and told her she was beautiful, while the store owner took forceps to her backside and removed the remains of the feather shaft. She put up a token fuss and then relaxed and let us work. When it was done I gave her some cuddles and head scratches before I put her back in her cage. We cover the grate with a sheet of cardboard and baby blankets, then roll up towels around the perimeter to keep her from getting stuck at the bottom. She still climbs up the side and sleeps with her bottom in an empty food dish. Some people come in and look at her with pity, but I think she's amazing.

If I was paralyzed from the chest down I'm not sure I would be as capable as she is, but I'm pretty sure I would bite people if they got too close.
 

SumitaSinh

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She's really amazing! Also the humans around her are awesome.. Hats off to all of them.
 

rocky'smom

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Wow she sounds amazing
 

BrianB

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Our sweet girl went home today. Here she is when I fed her this morning. She spent part of the day on the top of her tree and then got really excited when her mom came to pick her up

E7B938B6-D437-407C-A3A1-C021C45BA0CA.jpeg
 

BrianB

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Considering her situation, she really is a low-maintenance bird compared to other borders we have. She lets us know when she's hungry and she's patient while we make the food. We offer water every hour or so just to make sure she stays hydrated. I think she truly understands that we're there to do things for her that she can no longer do for herself and she's grateful. I got her stand ready for her this morning and when I want to take her out of the cage she said Hello to me. Some borders are just a complete pain, but the sweet ones make it all worth it.
 

BrianB

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Kiwi the psycho cockatoo has surprised me again. Yesterday he lunged at one of the employees as she was walking by, so I picked him up and chastised him, then put him into a nearby cage. We usually do this in the afternoon when the display area is cleaned. It's too easy for him to snap at someone when they walk by with a broom or something. Kiwi cried for a while and about an hour later when the cleaning was finished I took him out of the cage. He put his head down and let me scratch it for a few minutes, then he quickly climbed up onto my shoulder. I have never trusted him up there because of his tendency to bite ears. I was making a run to the nearest Sonic to pick up drinks for everyone and I went to the owner so she could take Kiwi. She said that since he obviously likes me I should take him to Sonic with me. She knows his behavior and trust level better than I do so Kiwi went with me. Before we left the store I pointed at his face and warned him that he had better not bite me or we were going to have words. It was only 15 minutes but he was on his best behavior. He didn't even scream any bad words while he was outside. I was hoping he would at least once because it was a busy day and I needed a laugh. We got back to the store and he stepped off to his momma without a problem. He has earned a little bit more of my trust, but I'll never forget who he is.

Screen Shot 2022-03-27 at 8.50.07 AM.jpg
 

SumitaSinh

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Wow! Surprising! But, you took him out without any harness? Is he not flighted?
 

BrianB

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Kiwi is clipped but he’s also rough on his feathers so his wings wouldnt be much use to him. He’s in his 20’s and hasn’t flown in years. He plucks when he’s hormonal. Usually his chest is mostly filled in.
 
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