Beauty and the Beast, or "our life with Cockatoo"

by Hal May
(Belmont Ca)




Hello All
For all of you thinking about getting a companion bird, first ask yourself “do I want a toddler for the rest of my life?”

I have often read that a bird chooses you; I have come to agree with that statement. I have looked back on the day we saw Lila, a medium sulphur crested Too in the cage with her sibling, both very beautiful and very trusting as it was the habit of the breeder to let her flock of babies out to swarm the new visitors in a very safe controlled environment, what a thrill it was to see so many beautiful birds that wanted to interact with new strange visitors, but as far as they knew everyone like birds, why would they think otherwise? As we stood and looked at the sibling Too’s the breeder said “would you like to hold one of them?” “Uh, Ok sure” I said. Well, that was when this sweet bird looked into our eyes and chose us to care for her every need, like a toddler for life.

She was out of our budget, so my spouse and I went to lunch and discussed it, we came back and told the breeder “we want the Too“ Now I suspect she knew this already since she had seen many of her babies chose many people over the years.Now,I will admit not long after she had easily settled into our home that the full impact of our decision hit us, a toddler for life?

WOW, what had we gotten ourselves into? But her sweet nature, intelligence, cuddly love and total trust in both of us removed any doubt if we had chosen the right bird.

The key is trust, instilling that trust early in life is critical for the bird’s successful future in a human home, or new home if something happens to you and you cannot care for your companion, realize though to betray that trust can create emotional issues that can be very difficult to overcome,hence the problem with many rehomed birds.The human needs to always be a birds very best friend-always, no matter what they do.

17 years has gone by and our girl has become famous here in the county, her pictures are in coffee houses that we used to frequent, my wife keeps her picture at work in our lobby and she has people tell her “that looks like the bird I see with this blond guy, yep that’s her! She has come with us when I have done public astronomy sessions and gets more attention than what’s showing in the telescope. On one occasion I was walking with her and a very well dress business woman passed me and said “Oh hi Lila” I had no idea who she was but not long before that my good friend who is Lila’s best male buddy had taken her on a wine walk in the downtown district, I assume that’s the connection but it could be from Home Depot, the bank, one of the garden centers she visits etc.

She is easy to love, she goes to anyone, trusts everyone, will cuddle with everybody, the more hands the better to cuddle with in her mind! If she were a human she would be a classic Southern Belle, popular at every party and a big flirt to all the tall dark men, if wearing glasses the better! She is potty trained and helped to train our other bird,a male Solomon Island Eclectus, bought as a companion for her but they dislike each other!

I suspect and hope many Too care givers (I cannot say “owned” since the reality is they own “US”) are reading this and nodding in agreement “yes that a Too”

Several years ago I got into growing orchids, how much more exotic could I get but parrots and orchids in my home? I grew some miniature ones and Lila allowed me to put them in her crest and take some pictures (no easy challenge BTW) so she became my parrot super model and I started a series called “BeautyandtheBeast” Inc, ENJOY!

Comments for Beauty and the Beast, or "our life with Cockatoo"

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Jul 14, 2011
bird love
by: Margaret

That is a wonderful story. Sadly I believe that less than 50% of bird keepers are like that. just reading the posts on this site can make one wish that it was illegal to keep birds as pets. We got our 1st parrot (a Myers) 3 years ago as a baby. We read everything we could to make sure we knew what we were in for. Still, no information compared with actually having the bird. He is a joy. We love him dearly but he is like a spoiled little kid. I am retired so he gets plenty of attention but even still it never seems like enough for him. I cannot imagine the miserable life a bird has that is left alone most of the time in the cage and little if any companionship. They all live so long that it is a tragedy that so many are cooped up like a prisoner almost in solitary confinement. Just like children, toys and "stuff" never make up for the attention and love from their "flock".
I have had all kinds of pets in my lifetime including cats, dogs, snakes, lizards, all kinds of rodents, guinea pigs, rabbits etc. but NEVER anything that is like this bird. I know he will outlive me and my hope is that I can find someone who will want and love him before I kick the bucket. The birds are a joy to the people who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to give them a decent life. One has to have mountains of patience and understanding to be truly loving and forgiving when your baby bites you really hard for no apparent reason. They are so smart that it is almost a given that you assume they did it on purpose. My bird is not a biter but he does bite on occasion for no reason. Just yesterday he was sitting on my arm while I was at the computer and walked over to my hand and bit me so hard to draw blood and would not let go. I grabbed his tail and he finally got off but why???? I reminded myself that it is a wild prey animal. None of my other pets have done that, not even the snakes. I do not expect to ever understand why he does this on occasion but how many owners could forgive this especially if it was a big bird like a Too or Macaw? This is why I say that there should be rules for bird ownership. For the well being of the animal the people who care for it need to be cognizant of the pitfalls and be willing to accept the bird with its faults as well as the joy and love it gives. They also need to be aware of the seasonal quirks, the sex issues, the basic stability needs etc. Sorry to ramble on so but I feel so strongly about this. The bird is a living thing that has wants and needs. It is not a toy or an exotic home decoration that may even talk. I am actually thankful that they are so very expensive. Otherwise there would be even more bird abuse.

Jul 14, 2011
Beauty and the Beast, or "our life with Cockatoo"
by: Linda

Thank You SO Much for your story! It captures the essence of the Too, and will be enjoyable for everyone whether they are owned by a Too or not. Truth of it is that all parrots are emotionally and mentally developed as a rough equivalency to a 4-5 year old human child. They never get any older in their minds and always have to be cared for, watched over and protected as one would a small child. No matter how old they become in years, they are still the same kid they always were. I have a pair of Amazons past their mid thirties, and they are still my little ones needing my guidance and protection from a possibly cruel world.

The Too is, like the Grey, very emotionally dependent on their humans for love, trust and care. They are sensitive to all our moods and know when we are sick or are about to be so. They are very special and can steal a human heart in a second and keep that heart for a lifetime.

We need more and better sanctuaries though because our birds will most likely outlive us, and they need a safe, caring place to go. I'm thinking of this for my two amazons because in a few more years' I'll no longer be able to give the right kind of care for them. If anyone is thinking of a sanctuary for their bird, please make sure you take the trip to see this place in person and talk to everyone involved in its operations. Sometimes, they look good in the pictures and words only to find that they are horrible places where birds spend their last years in hell on earth. Always, go, in person to wherever the sanctuary is and spend the day looking around and discussing things.

Your little girl is beautiful, well loved and well taken care of. You are a shining example of the kind of people who should get birds for pets. They have needs, and these needs are simple like wholesome food, large, safe cages with nice natural branch perches, a good Avian Vet just a call away is a must for any bird owner. To do any less for them is what I consider a mortal sin as it is for any animal or bird we call friend.

Bless you and your little Too and may you all continue to thrive in an atmosphere of love, respect and trust.


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