What a Cheeky Bird

In addition to now owning six chickens and hosting a wide variety of wild birds in my (now certified wildlife habitat) yard, I’ve added a new avian friend to the mix.

Meet the newest resisdent of Phoenix Grove “Cheeky” (who’s a cheeky bird?)

Cheeky is a female cockatiel and approximately one year old.

From Drop Box

Now the amusing part of this story is how it came to be…

I was running errands with my friend and neighbor Francine and one of the stops was PetsMart for the uber expensive cat food we both have to feed our older cats.

On the way out, we stooped to look at the birds. I haven’t had birds for almost 30 years and had been planning on getting one again, once I was settled into a house.

Since this trip was for Francine’s cat food, I blame her ?

I don’t buy animals from pet stores, I adopt.

The next morning (when I should have been cleaning my house) I perused Craigslist and found a family selling a cockatiel, cage, toys, etc… for a very reasonable price, so I went to check it out.

I ending up “rescuing” her from the house which contained a grabby four year old. Actually, the people who had her were super nice and good to her, they just didn’t know anything about birds and the older child who said he’d take care of it, clean the cage, etc… didn’t.

They also thought she was a he. The kids called her “Commando”.

I wasn’t sure about the age or sex after seeing her behavior and the barred markings on her tail (all juveniles have them, but after the 6-month molt the males lose the markings) so I found out what pet store they got her from, called them and determined her age, which also determined her sex.

Despite her not being trained by “bird people” and having a small child grabbing at her constantly; she was quite sweet and cuddled up to and kissed her primary care giver (Dad) She was not “bitey” and even stepped up onto my finger and let me hold her. This spoke very well to her temperament despite the fact that she only really liked one person.

The bird was hilarious on the ride home; I was afraid that she might be scared so I kept saying “Pretend you’re flying”; after a while, she climbed over to my side of the cage and started whistling at me.

When I got her home the first day, I just “let her be” to get used to her new space. She was naturally a bit nervous so I wanted to let her settle down before handling her so as not to stress her out. I have her in the living room so that her cage is near where I sit most often so that she gets used to me being her “flock”.

I spent most of that afternoon/evening gently talking and singing to her.

I don’t think I’ll have to worry about the BadKitty getting near the cage; When she (the kitty) walked into the room, Cheeky hissed at her. The cat was not amused and much prefers to keep her distance and watch “her” birds (aka Kitty TV) out the front window as they dine at the bird feeders.

Yesterday, she chirped a greeting to me when I walked in the door; this indicated to me that she was getting more relaxed and that I could start working with her. I stopped off after my eye doctor appointment and got her some treats (poor thing had never been given fruits/veggies/millet spray or any other treat)

After she was done chowing down on the millet spray, I decided to see if she was comfortable enough with her new home and me to step onto my finger. She was slightly hesitant at first, but she did hop up there.

From Drop Box

We did this four times last night; I’m keeping it to short sessions at first.

I need to get a perch for the top of the cage as she doesn’t care to be up there just walking on the wire.

Tonight, I’ll close BadKitty up in my room for a bit and allow her to explore the basement (she is always trying to go down there when I don’t want her to) while I bring Cheeky out to sit with me after dinner.

I got a short video of one of our sessions. (sorry, no biting 😉

I’ve had birds before, but have been doing a lot of reading up on them to re familiarize myself.

A resource that I highly recommend is Cockatiel Cottage.net (go ahead, give it a click) where there is a wealth of information for novice as well as experienced bird owners.

So yeah… I may not be a crazy cat lady, but I think I am well on my way to becoming a crazy bird lady.