Can You Help Me Care For My 3 Cockatiels?

Can You Help Me Care For My 3 Cockatiels?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Rita N. reported


My husband and I are happy to read your new emails each week!

We have a problem. So sorry for the long long message but I want to give you the full picture. 

We’ve got three cockatiels.  Charlie (age 6) who we’ve had since he was a baby, Tweety (age 23) who we adopted when he was 18…we’ve got other issues with this little baby, and Tango (about 5 yrs we think), our bird with anxiety.

We became accidental bird parents when I let my youngest son get Charlie when he was 14.  As you know teenagers change quick and he was neglecting them a few years later.  So I took over. Little did I know the care they required to live a full happy life. 

We got Tango from a young lady who couldn’t handle his separation anxiety and just didn’t have the time to spend with him that he needed.  She had adopted him 2 years before from a pets store who said they thought he was used in a classroom. 

2 cockatiels in custom aviary

When we got him his wings were cut but very poorly.  Basically just chopped off. The woman we got him from said she left him with her mom for a weekend and came back to find him like this.

That’s when she decided she couldn’t care for him the way he needed to be cared for. I found him on Reddit of all places.  I’m so happy we have him in our flock!

He could fly but was very clumsy and couldn’t fly for long. We are guessing that he was in a cage most of the time. We got him in March of this year. So just a few months ago.  Wings are grown out and he flies like a champ now. 


Our home is set up.  

My husband just built an amazing aviary for them.

 I’ll attach a pic because it’s so awesome. We are transitioning them to this and getting it all fixed up to be an amazing safe playground.

They are out of their cages all the time that we are home with them.  My hubby is retired and is home with them most of the time. They have a few places in the house where they hang out…top of a bookshelf, multiple cages, top of the kitchen cabinets and now a new aviary.

Custom built aviary

It’s a big dining, living, family room, and kitchen type of room. We are in Florida and have a big screened-in patio where we also let them fly free when we are outside with them. 

They have a nighttime cage in our bedroom so we can stay close to them all the time.  We also have cats in our house so we have to keep the birds close to make sure they aren’t being bothered by cats. Mostly the cats ignore the birds, fortunately. 

Tango is attached to my husband.  He is only happy when he’s on his shoulder or in his hand. As you know this is not possible all day long.  When my hubby leaves the room Tango screams and flies around frantically searching. 


My husband is calling out to him telling him he’s okay and only occasionally does this help.  I’m only his spare human and he won’t accept me as a substitute.

Tango has learned he can fly from place to place but is still learning that he can actually follow my husband from room to room too.

He hangs out on the bookshelf and the kitchen cabinets. Wants nothing to do with the top of the cages. Hoping he will eventually enjoy the aviary. I read your previous blog post about distracting with a loud noise…banging a pot….then rewarding the bird with attention when he’s quiet.

2 cockatiels in custom aviary

We will try that.  Is there anything else you can recommend?  It’s only been 3 months and we have the patience to stick this out forever but I hate seeing him so stressed. 

attached are so many pics.  I obviously love my babies. They bring so much joy into our lives. 

Catherine Tobsing wrote:

Dear Rita

Your birds are very lucky to have such a nice place to hang out when they are not out with you and your husband.

Cockatiels always seem to be annoyed, it may be their expressions.

We have one, Barney. who came to us in 2020 from a hoarder’s home and was quiet and shy in the beginning, but over the year came out of his shell and daily, rules the roost.

He also was clipped and kept in a small cage so it took time for his wings to grow out and build up the strength and skills to now fly like a jet.

He does have expectations that of course we fail him on as he seems to scold us daily. He enjoys sitting and looking out the window most of the day, but yells out demands to us as we travel to and from his area.

He is interested in the actions of our other birds and wants to supervise, but has no personal contact with any of them. He comes to visit us, but won’t allow touching. 


His cage is small 18 x 18 but he really only is in it to sleep at night as he is out of it 8 am to 8 pm daily unless we need to go out, then must corral him in.

He does call out to us when we come and go. If we have come in and he hears us enter the house we can hear him call out loudly like we have left him for weeks. It is just what they do.

It will take time and patience before your one bird stops acting like he has been abandoned. He may always call out frantically as he has learned it does get his attention.

The pot and spoon banging is less likely to work for him and the smaller birds. It is best used in a household with a single large bird.

I recommend turning on a radio with a talk show or music by the big cage. It will be soothing to them all. Sounds are natural to birds. Silence is not scary. Especially for smaller birds.

FYI, I am sure your bird setup is new. So if you have not done so yet. Please mount the perches more horizontally.

The sharp angle will just keep them climbing to the very top, competing for the best spot.

Let me know if you require further advice,



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