Category Archives: Bird Stories

Pookie The Cockatiel

Almost twenty-two years ago, Pookie The Cockatiel came to live with us. He was raised by a breeder near us, and hatched in an outdoor aviary, kept around fifty degrees. He was an only bird for just a few months, because Peachy showed up not much later, and then came Louie, and finally Zephy. People stopping by @ZephyLoveBird have seen Pookie in pictures and heard his name, but he has preferred the low profile life.

Pookie Getting February sun

Pookie Getting February sun

Pookie has spent most of his life living with at least one other bird, first Peachy The Lovebird and then Zephy The Lovebird, and for fourteen years a Quaker Parakeet, Louie. Now, Pookie is training us to be more bird-like, because with the loss of Zephy, we are stepping in to perform extra duties like preening and hanging out. It is not hard work; he is our friend.

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In Memorium: Zephy The Lovebird

It is with great sadness that Pookie The ‘Tiel, Mrs. H., and I wish to let you know that Zephy the Lovebird passed away yesterday evening. She had was recovering from a spill in liquid laundry detergent, and went into respiratory distress. We have asked Pookie, our 21 year old cockatiel to take over tweeting for Zephy as @ZephyLoveBird. He said he will consider it.

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Our Bird Mash

Now, I know all of you have just been waiting to hear about the bird mash we eat, so here goes. Pookie The Cockatiel and I have a primary diet of cooked grains, which Dad and Mrs. Highpants call mash. Periodically, Dad makes a trip to a natural grocer in Central Square Cambridge, MA. This place is completely natural, including occasional moths in the grain. To be honest, Dad doesn’t go there, because it’s natural, but instead because they have good prices on bulk grains.

Cooking the mash takes several elapsed hours, because everything has to cool. However, the actual cooking time is about 1 1/2 hours from prep to finish.

First, after the grains (and beans) are purchased, they are divided into three categories and three jars, long cooking, short cooking, and no cooking.

Long Cooking

Brown rice

Small beans like Adzuki

Barley

Wheat Berries

and any other grain that takes about 40 minutes to cook.

Short Cooking

Red/Orange, Green, or other kind of Lentil

Quinona

Macaroni

Buckwheat (groats, kasha)

No Cooking

Wheat, Rye, or Oat Flakes

Millet

or anything that will cook (soften) from the heat of the other cooked ingredients

Cooking

To a 4 QT covered saucepan, mix 1 cup of long cooking ingredients and two cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for twenty minutes.

Then add 1 cup short cooking ingredients and two cups of water to the first ingredients that have been cooking for twenty minutes.

Heat to bring back close to a boil and then simmer for twenty more minutes.

Remove mash from heat.

Stir in one cup of no cooking ingredients, and let everything cool with the lid on, to preserve moisture.

This mixture can be seasoned with a little allspice. If you want to use other spices, check with your veterinarian or bird expert for spices that won’t hurt birds. We know about allspice, because it is used in commercially available bird mash.

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Spaghetti Hawk

In their native habitat, Lovebirds eat millet and sorghum. In captivity, we struggle to get Lovebirds, other members of the parrot family, as well as finches and canaries as close to nature’s diet as possible. Our Cockatiel and Lovebird eat mash made of brown rice and other grains, as well as Nekton vitamins, fresh corn and carrots.

Pookie The Cockatiel prefers junk food, if he can get it, which is almost never. His preferred junk food is potato chips, but he’s been kept away from that stuff, and is 21 years old as of October 12, 2012.

Zephy, our slate gray Lovebird, likes rice and spaghetti, as this picture shows. Pookie is very non-chalant about his comings and goings, and is literally a ninja bird, if he chooses to be still and invisible.

Zephy, on the other hand is right out there, declaring her desires about everything, including dinner.

A Lovebird in her [almost] native habitat raiding the fruits of a spaghetti dinner

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Watch Birds

Some people think birds only build nests, have babies, fly around, and eat. But there is much more to us than that. Pookie The Cockatiel and I like to survey our holdings. We see enough of the house, so we like to see our yard especially who is skulking through it.

Dad snapped the following when we were surveying our kingdom, kicking out large birds — yes I can do that with my cry — and just enjoying things in general.

Pookie The 'Tiel and Zephy Love Bird Surveying Their Yard

Small parrots surveying their holdings.

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Pookie’s Ankle Tale

A few weeks ago, Pookie started limping, favoring his left foot.  (For those interested, this is a nice comparison between human and avian anatomy.) He went out to Dr. Bill to get checked out. At first Dr. Bill thought Pookie might have broken his ankle, but it seems like it might have been a small fracture.

What hurt Pookie the most was cutting off his band without anesthetizing him. Bird surgery is usually avoided unless it is life or death. It hurt Pookie to put a heavy-duty cutter between his leg and the band, but no one can safely cut the band off any other way without risk of cutting the leg.

Pookie’s limp is improving; he did not need a cast; and he is on canine pain killer/anti-inflammatory medicine, one drop a day. The medicine is called Metacam, and he can stay on it indefinitely, as long as he doesn’t start barking.

One of the things we needed to do was soften up Pookie’s perches. He took to one perch being wrapped as shown below, but rejected most of it. However, we tried our best.

Soft Perch

Perch Bandaged To Make It Soft For Feet

This is one place I found that carries this wrap: http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Horse-Vet-Wrap/dp/B0002V47L0 but your veterinarian probably carries or can order it.

As you can see, things are back to normal.

A Good Looking 'Tiel

Pookie During His Ankle Crisis

Pookie turns 20 in another month. I’d say he doesn’t look a day over 5. Who could tell? Only Dad knows for sure.

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Pookie and Printers

I have lived with Pookie the ‘Tiel almost my entire life. He is a character. He is also quite a bold explorer and goes anywhere there is paper. I cannot tell if he is interested in paper because it is nesting material or that he just likes paper.

One of Pookie’s pastimes is to explorer the printer. He never gets to do this unsupervised. Dad and Mrs. H. don’t want accidents.

I cannot figure out if he thinks it’s a nest, or because paper comes out of it. He seems intrigued by the noises.

Pookie Waiting for Print Job

Pookie Posturing His Image On All-In-One Printer

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When Cockatiels Need Pain Relief

<Disclaimer: This post is a “parrot”dy and does not recommend giving pain reliever for humans to birds. We recommend you contact your veterinarian if your bird appears to be in pain.>

Cockatiels love to play and investigate, but it takes all a ‘Tiel can give to keep up with a Lovebird. Lovebirds also love to play and play hard. So, after a day of play, this ‘Tiel goes for real pain relief:

But just make sure you are there to help if there is a bird-proof cap.

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