How I Accidentally Rescued A Goffins Cockatoo

How I Accidentally Rescued A Goffins Cockatoo

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

I just want to thank you for the weekly messages – for the stories you tell, and all that you teach us.


I have had a 10-year-old female Goffin’s cockatoo in my care for 2-1/2 years.


Editor’s note: Goffin’s cockatoo aka, Tanimbar corella aka Goffin’s corella.


Her owner was someone I knew most of my life and she committed suicide suddenly with no warning.


She had many animals.


Horses, dogs, cats, snakes, rats, and a bird.

“His” name was “Mr. Feathers”, which I did not like.


I changed it to “Macky”.


The bird had never seen a vet, per her husband and mother.


The vet informed me Macky was not a “he”, so her name is now “Mackie”.


She had been moved to the woman’s place of business, and when she died, Mackie was forgotten.


Her husband had disliked the noise intensely, so the bird was not anything he cared about.


I found the bird 2-1/2 weeks after her death when I went to check the indoor/outdoor cats kept at her office for the woman’s Mother.


Mackie had about 5 or 6 seeds left and only a tiny bit of completely polluted water.


She had been shut up for all that time in too small a cage – especially for a Goffin’s.


The back door had been left cracked, (blocked so it could not open fully), so the cats could come and go, and it was very cold in that place.


I had never had a bird. I loved them, but have always had dogs.


At that time, and still, standard poodles.


Not a good combination – I have to keep them completely separated.


Mackie was traumatized, “abandoned”, anxious, and very hungry.


I was horrified.


She never bit me, but I had a healthy respect for that beak.


I drove to see her every day for a month – 45 minutes one way – she was in Tennessee, I live in Alabama.


I did not know what I was doing.


I just knew she needed company.


I was helping place my friend’s animals in new homes, and I thought the bird needed to feel safe with someone before moving.


I love all animals – my heart breaks at any creature being frightened, abused, or neglected. Long story short, no one wanted a bird. A bird is not a dog – an understatement.


I did not know anyone with birds.


I did not intend to keep her, but I was and still am so concerned she might end up somewhere she is not cared for.


I don’t want her stuck in a closet, on somebody’s carport, or any of the other things you read about people who are annoyed by natural bird noises and see birds as okay to discard.


I would hate for her to go through anything else traumatic.


Your weekly emails have helped me learn and that’s what I really wanted to say.


Mackie’s story is just letting you know why they matter to me.


I had intended to write you well before now.


Thank you for the time you put into them.


I met a woman who had 6 birds, she had done rescue and rehoming several years ago, placing 29 birds with only 2 giving her reason for concern.


She has been great to answer questions, and she has become my friend.


That helped so much – just to have someone to talk to.


I read so much early on, but I was relieved to have a person to ask questions of.


I hoped Mackie could live with her, and be part of a flock, but she is older than I am and concerned about a life plan for Mackie.


Mackie is very healthy and likely has 30 more years – my friend and I probably do not.


She has a sanctuary she supports that has agreed to take hers, but no sanctuary we have found will take Goffin’s cockatoos.


Other cockatoos, yes. But they all have too many Goffin’s already.


There is so much more to the story, but my point was actually not to tell the story – just to thank you for all the time you put in and all the good you do.


I look forward to the Sunday morning reads.


Hello Joy,


I’m glad to see you are taking ownership of this issue.


My sense is from what I read so far is that you are in fact up to the task.


Too many people think that having a bird is like taking care of a cat or dog but as you and I well know, it’s nothing like that at all.


Having just rescued our eighth bird in the past two years we are well aware of birds in bad situations.


In our case, if you read last week’s birdie brunch our new African ringneck Keto, did not come from a bad environment but resulted in a situation similar to what you went through.

​Keto’s owner went into a hospital one night but never came home.


We keep in touch via email, Facebook, and whatever medium with a small army of people who seriously understand birds.


Our rescue of Keto factoring out the drive, took place in a number of minutes with the bird ending up basically winning the lottery.


One of the best sources of information will be your avian veterinarian.


I tell people to start with a vet when they’re looking for a bird.


Veterinarians may not know directly where available birds are but people who bring in their patients have friends that………. so your veterinarian is a good source of information.


I don’t know of bird rescues that are overflowing with Goffin’s cockatoos.


They may be telling you that because Goffin’s are not as sexy as umbrella cockatoos or Moluccan cockatoos making it a tad harder to rehome.


Personally, I think they are magnificent birds and if you are going to have a cockatoo this could be one of the more ideal ones because they are not as noisy as their bigger counterparts.


It’s important to ensure the bird is on a good nutritional plan with pellets, seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables as part of its diet.


Full-spectrum lighting should be no more than 6 inches above the top of the cage on a timer providing 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness is essential for keeping your bird’s circadian rhythms synchronized.


You basically have a three-year-old autistic child in a feather suit for decades so socialization is the key.


Keeping the bird flighted and teaching him landing zones can be a wonderful process the two of you can share as well as clicker training.


The bird will truly enrich your life if you understand “how to speak bird”




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  1. This story reminds me of when we got our first cockatiel. My brother-in-law, then a college student, was driving an ice-cream truck. A cockatiel flew in and refused to leave. He gave the bird to us. We went to the public library and got every book on cockatiels we could find so we could figure out how to take care of him. Our lives would have been much emptier without him, and we never regretted the decision. Go ahead and take Mackie home. She knows you care about her, and the bond you’ve already formed will reward you more than you can imagine.

  2. I love the Goffins their smaller size is cute I have a GCC who thinks he’s a big parrot and one who is my huggy baby I love parrots

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