Peter the Cockatiel
By Lin Westgard
Photo by Bird Club Member, Vanessa Wike
Peter is not sitting outside. He is in an outside picnic screened in 'tent'. Even with clipped wings, cockatiels can fly, so they should never be taken outside without a harness or cage.
Peter is your normal grey cockatiel with cute orange cheeks and is about 8 years old. He was adopted through the PEAC program, so I had a huge responsibility in making sure I was his last and final home. That responsibility came with great rewards as I now have a wonderful companion that imitates noises and will sing me happy birthday any time I want it. He’s approximately 8 years old and is male. He has no problems sharing his home with his buddies, Casper and Elliot (two cockatoos).
Which leads me to the technical aspect of Peter: The name Cockatiel comes from a Dutch word “kakatielje” which means little cockatoo. Having two cockatoos, I can see certain traits that are much like cockatoos – their crest being one of them. Their very cocky attitude is another one. This little guy thinks he is one of the biggest, baddest birds around!
Unfortunately today, there are now many mutations, but the wild cockatiels were predominantly gray to help hide them from predators. Australia is their native homeland, although most that you see today are domestic bred since Australia banned exportation way back in the 1800’s. (Way to go Australia!!) Cockatiels are good eaters and will eat berries, vege’s, seeds and pellets. They also love to chew wood. I have a harder time keeping Peter supplied with wood than I do my two cockatoos. It’s amazing!
Their life span is typically 15-20 years but more and more we hear of the rare cockatiel, known to be in their late 20’s which is encouraging and that shows us with proper nutrition and cage enrichment, they can live a long and healthy life. What surprised me was his ability to mimic sounds. He can kiss-kiss, he does a raspberry, he “drinks” water, he can whistle tunes, he does a knock-knock, etc. There are days when I think I have heard him say his name. My family flock became complete with his adoption and I’m very lucky to have him.