Monthly Archives August 2015

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5 Things You Don’t Know About Cockatiels

Cockatiels are phenomenal birds and perhaps the most popular bird I see in my veterinary practice these days. Why are these little animals so beloved? Here are five facts about cockatiels that may surprise you.


1.  Cockatiels make great first pets — feathered or otherwise.

Without a doubt, cockatiels, which are one of the smaller species of pet parrots, are the first bird I recommend for new pet owners or families, especially those with elementary school-age children or older. They are large enough to be sturdy in the hands of a child (although always under adult supervision, please!) but not so large that they are daunting. They are extremely social and love spending time with their human flock mates. They clearly recognize their caretakers and are responsive to their voices. They are fairly easy to care for, so they can be perfect first birds for people or families learning about the responsibilities of having a pet and/or the unique care needs of birds.

2.  Cockatiels are extremely smart and can be taught to talk and do tricks.

Search YouTube, and you’ll find hundreds of videos showing cockatiels dancing, singing and hamming it up. People love to see birds do silly things, and cockatiels love to perform for rewards. Simply offer them a treat right after they complete a behavior, and the performance of the behavior will be reinforced. Reward this behavior repeatedly over time, and the bird will eventually perform it in anticipation of the treat.

3. Cockatiels are relatively long lived.

Many people think that only large parrots can live a long time, but when cared for properly with proper nutrition and preventive medical care, cockatiels can live to be 20 or older. The oldest reported cockatiel is nearly 30 years old. The longevity of these birds makes them attractive as pets for people who want a long-lived pet with whom they can bond like a family member.