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.