Saturday, December 24, 2005

Still Life With Cockatiels

Things are a little crazy at the Balabusta's right now. We need to get ready for a quiet at-home Christmas Eve. We have the Balabusta's parents coming tomorrow for lunch. We have ants (they're back), and we also have two cockatiels on loan from a friend who is spending Christmas in Montana with her family.

The cockatiels are interesting. It's a pair of females, one quite sweet, the other very protective and prone to biting anyone who annoys her. (Luckily, they can't bite very hard. Or so far, haven't.)

Unfortunately, they have a tendency to SCREAM. Everything is top volume if you're a cockatiel. "HELLO!! HOW GREAT TO SEE YOU'RE UP! THIS CAGE IS SMALLER THAN THE ONE AT HOME! HI! HOW ARE YOU? DO WE GET MORE SEED SOON? WEEEEE-OOOOOOO!" and so on, throughout the day. Also unfortunately, the new house is smaller than the one we had the last time they were visiting, and getting away from the happy shrieks is getting harder. The fella is hiding in the computer room with the door closed.

yesterday I let them out of the cage for a stroll--the wings are clipped, so aside from short flights at low heights, they do stroll. They walk around on the floor, wingtip to wingtip, like little girls holding hands and check things out. The sweet one walked up my leg, and eventually sat on my shoulder.

They're afraid of our parakeet, who is about a third the size of one of them, but far more agressive. The first time they came over, I let all the birds out at once, only to find that the 'keet had thrown the 'tiels out of their cage, and was sitting in it all by himself while they stood on the floor, shaking with dismay. I rousted him out of there, and instituted separate exercise times.

They're a lot messier than the parakeet. You can leave him with the same paper for some time, and all that happens is seed husks and tidy droppings pile up. The 'tiels will soak the paper in about an hour and need more. They also need their water changed. A lot. And they need a night light, because one of them is prone to night terrors otherwise. (Yeah, make fun. I nearly had a heart attack the night I was wakened out of a sound sleep by a bird screaming as though she was being murdered, and flapping hysterically.)

I don't know what they make of our house. No dogs. The Dread Green Monster in his cage across the room. Piles of cardboard on the floor (I cleared part of the garage.) No mom. I reassure them she'll be home soon, but I don't think they get it. They do remember us, though, I think, and they know that when we've had them in the past she has always come back to get them.


Mirty said...

We have cockatiels too. One way to get them to quiet down is to get close to them and make a clicking noise with your tongue, like "tsk, tsk, tsk." They will respond by making a similar quiet noise (rather than screeching) and will soon quiet down. They seem to find the sound calming. Of course, you can also put a towel over the cage. Then they go to sleep.

Mirty said...

Oh well, I guess you can't use the towel trick if one of the birds is scared of the dark. That's a new one to me!

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

We have been covering them from time to time, and so far, no problem.

I'll try tsking them down, and see how that goes.

Eliyahu said...

I'll try tsking them down, and see how that goes.
i wonder if that would work for certain bloggers, too?