Tonawanda News


February 24, 2014

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Taking time, earning trust

Tonawanda News — As you may remember, when I was growing up in Wheatfield, I had several pet cockatiels.

I started with a young female, Laverne, and then another, Shirley, and then a male, Carmine. A pair formed and quickly I had baby cockatiels. For the past few years, I have been cockatiel-less, so when a couple of retired friends told me they were moving through seven states — and they needed to re-home an 18-year-old cockatiel and a pair of 6-year-old lovebirds — I seriously thought about it. Cockatiels’ lifespans are between 20 and 30 years and lovebirds range from 15 to 20 years.

Lovebirds, weighing all of 50 to 60 grams, look like colorful trinkets that you would hang on a Christmas tree. They are one of the smallest parrot species and are quite theatrical in their daily tasks. Cockatiels are small grey birds with tiny crests on their head, similar to the much larger cockatoos. Cockatiels are naturally grey with yellow faces and orange cheek patches if they are male. Through years of breeding, cockatiels can come in a range of mutations including: Pied, Pearled, Cinnamon, Lutino, Albino and my favorite, the Whitefaced. Their monochromatic pattern makes them very remarkable.

Of the dozen or so cockatiels I raised growing up, I never had a Whitefaced. When the friends told me of their 18-year-old Whitefaced cockatiel, I got really excited. Both the cockatiel and lovebirds were “tame” when they first obtained them, but through time and human sicknesses they were left in their enclosures more and more, and became quite timid. After about a month of thinking, as time got closer to the humans relocating, I gave an enthusiastic “yes.”

Two weeks ago, I adopted three little birds. When I brought them home, I moved them into a quiet bedroom. For the first day or two, when I would approach the room, all three birds would fly up against their cage, away from me. If they all loved me in the beginning, it wouldn’t be as much fun, I suppose.

Text Only
  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Rewards for playing nice

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE signs of spring 1 032314.jpg Region's favorite signs of spring gear up for season

    Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo