Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Bird in the Hand

Okay, now what do I do?

Walking out to my Jeep yesterday, I heard this squawking in one of the trees in my front yard. I peek around and find this guy making a ruckus. I've seen escaped pet birds before and most of the time, they fly away as soon as I approach.

He (until somebody says different) was coaxed out of the tree and had a nice meal of birdseed. We let him loose in the house and he's been very sedate for the most part. Some chirps yesterday and today and he found a comfy spot above our living room curtains to sleep last night.

He seems not to be afraid of people, but he has no bands around his legs. I'm thinking he may be illegal, but if anybody has a clue what I should do at this point, I'm open to suggestions. I'll probably post flyers in the neighborhood, but I'm looking for any info from anyone who keeps birds. I had a parakeet many years ago and my younger brother kept pigeons. I think that qualifies me for "not quite completely clueless".

Right now, we're calling him, "Lucky" or "Catbait".


Paco said...

Felicidades !!! Cute Bird u found...
From Mexico City, ur friend

beFrank said...

Hey, Paco! How's life?

dkgoodman said...

Cute cockatiel! If you end up keeping him, I'd suggest a trip to the vet for a checkup. Also recommended is a nice cage, so he doesn't chew and poop on your curtains and other furnishings. Add one of those things you hang that control parasites for a while, to make sure he's clean.

Some people have had luck getting their cockatiels to speak, but when I had one he only wanted to learn songs to whistle. I've had better luck teaching parakeets to speak. Cockatiels can be loud, and bite a little harder than parakeets, but they're fun.

beFrank said...

Thanks for the info. Parasites! Okay, I'm calm. Will microwaves kill parasites? Because I'm thinking. . .well, maybe I'd better not risk it.

leanne said...


I am a old timer when it comes to cockatiels... I have had 2 since I was 8 and the female (cleo) is still alive (I am 28... you do her math!)

Males have brighter orange cheeks.... yours might be a female. If she is young you will probably be able to confirm that when she legs eggs and trys to rip your hand off when you remove the un cooked eggs from her cage.....

Yes they can speak... males mainly can (or are willing) and most only have a vocabulary of 5- 10 words. Our male (Leo, yes remember I was 8 when I got them??) would say "hello" "Janie" "pretty bird" We tried to teach him to say "Janie wipe me" but he wasn't big on multiple words, and he probably made a great decision on his part as my MOM would of killed him if he said that to her.... any who....

Easy birds to take care of and love.... I would advise a nice sized cage. They love fruits and veggies. Cleo eats parakeet pellets (seeds are BAD BAD BAD for them) and she also eats a diet called "soak and cook" its a freeze dried mixture of cooked peas, beans, rice and corn. You can make it in a huge batch and refreeze it in ice cube trays and nuke one every day for her to eat (ours get a half of cube a day along with pellet)

If no one claims her take her to the vet to get looked at(it will cost only $60 or so) and make sure she has no parasites.

Giver her lots of fresh clean water.

Whistle an easy song to her every day and she will pick it up very fast.

Cleo loves to preen her self and preen me too.

Also a good trick no mirriors in her cage if you wish her to talk.

Their average life span is 15 years.... cleo is the execption.... Leo died at age 15 and she keeps going and going and going.... I am starting to think she will out live me.

Oh and they love to chew! So don't let her chew your lead based paint walls.... oh that would be so bad!!!!!

I hope she either finds her owners or finds a loving place in your family (as I am sure she will!)

your photographer buddy.....

gemmak said...

What a lovely creature, I kinda hope he/she isn't claimed so we get more posts :o)

I know damn all about captive birds, the best I can offer is to avoid the name 'catbait' becoming a self fulfilling prophecy!

magz said...

ActionBoid! Da boid's da woid! Cool, bry, hope ya get ta keep him/her/it. you already got the best advice on her... they can be a bit 'destructive'... but nosey, playful, and way fun. I used ta get letters (member snailmail?) from my sis siddawg all corner chewed by her cockatiel..get a cage. A beWinger!

magz said...

peee ssss 'psycho-chicken' sez let her at the 'puter... she wants her on IM list!

C. Fish said...

I had a cockatiel once.. alerted me to someone breaking in my house actually. Good luck!

Lisa said...

Beautiful bird! After you've put out fliers and if no one claims it, get yourself a big cage, some cockateil food and some water... a few toys.. .you're all set.

The males tend to utter words to a greater degree than the females. Mine knew the Andy Griffith song as well as several others.

The females will whistle and make noise ocassionally, but that's pretty much it. The females LAY EGGS. This can become messy, especially without a cage.

I love birds.. :) and cockateils can be so affectionate. Sounds like you have a very tame one there.

Elizabeth said...

She (or he) looks like a sweet little cockatiel! I can't guess the sex--although males have brighter colors I have seen some brighter-than-average females. Adult males have a pretty whistled song with variations; females have only a few calls and chirps. Both will let you know with loud demanding calls if they think they are being neglected and want your attention. They will chew on anything that won't bite back, including electrical cords, books, pictures frames and the molding around your door frame. Both sexes will bite (given enough provocation) but the males have more power--they grab the cuticle around your fingernail and hang on!

Try giving her a pie plate full of water on the kitchen counter or run a trickle from the kitchen faucet into the sink and give her a way to reach it (like a branch running down into the sink). Most cockatiels really enjoy a bath. Some even enjoy a shower, either with you, or from the kitchen dish-sprayer or a squirt bottle.

She's not likely to be illegal--cockatiels are popular pets, breed easily, and sell for around $40 or $50 (last time I looked). There are a few places in So Cal where escaped pets have established small flocks in the wild. If she's really tame, someone has worked with her a lot, and she might even be hand-raised. Check your neighborhood for ads and ask around. I found a very tame cockatiel once and found his owner in about 10 minutes once I started asking around my neighborhood. (A friend of mine, on the other hand, found a very rare variety of Amazon parrot flying around his block in NYC and never found the owner; the bird has owned him for over 20 years now.)

meg@mandarin said...

We found "Buddy", or he found us the same way. He taught us what to do. Flew to the sink for bath, ate my crackers, refused day-old water, etc.

He learned to speak and within a month was saying "Hey Buddy, good buddy, buddy buddy". He learned to sing/whistle Happy Trails to You... (why that song?). He embellished it and added a nice vibrato.

He sat on the neck of the guitar while I played and learned quickly to avoid touching the strings. They can be amazing and annoying. I hope you enjoy him. He's beautiful!

SidDawgone said...

Hope you can keep him! They're GREAT pets! Mine was "Rico" and when I left the cage door open, he would climb down and walk across the floor to greet me at the door when I came home! (kind of pathetic to watch tho, because his toenails would get stuck in the carpet and it took a long time to get there!) As Magz remembers, he would always want to sit at the desk and "help" with whatever I was doing. I highly recommend them as entertaining and affectionate pets!