Cocky the Cockatiel

My little cockatiel died yesterday. I’d had him 17 years, and we think he was about 20 – a good age for a cockatiel. This is him:

My little friend

He always had cool hair.

I wouldn’t buy another bird – I don’t like the idea of keeping them in cages any more. But in this case I was lucky, as he seemed ok with it. I’ve seen unhappy pet shop cockatiels pull out their feathers and sit around, still and depressed. He didn’t do that. He was continually hopping around the cage, and would regularly sing and chatter to himself. When I let him out for some exercise, he’d fly to a picture frame and sit there for 4hrs. So I don’t think he minded his cage too much, though I always felt a bit guilty.

He wasn’t a big fan of humans. Other pets, though, became immediate BFFs. He quickly learned to emulate the guinea pig, and they’d have squeaking fits together. And over the years he developed a symbiotic relationship with the dog. He’d squawk loudly at first site of a squirrel in the garden, at which point Daisy would hurtle across the house. Once she was outside there’d be a shrieky audio commentary until the squirrel inevitably escaped. I don’t think he ever really recovered from Daisy dying – I can’t remember him singing since.

But, in general, humans were something to be tolerated. I suspect he often subsisted on a Batman-like desire for revenge on my Dad, who picked him up out of the cage during the first week we had him. The ignominy was permanent and catastrophic. To the day he died, he’d snarl and attack when my Dad walked past. Me, though, he liked. He’d eat out of my hand, and sometimes say my name when I entered the room. He could also say ‘hello, how are you?’. Well, ‘say’ is a bit strong. But strangers knew what he was attempting.

I’ll miss my little friend. Things are a bit less colourful now.