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Theby's avatar

Does anyone on Fluther know anything about parrot behaviour?

Asked by Theby (998points) May 28th, 2010

I used to feed seed to about a dozen wild cockatoos from my windowsill. Unfortunately, I had to stop feeding the cockatoos because they became destructive at the times I was not there and a neighbour complained. Anyway, all of the cockatoos except for one stopped coming to my window. The one that did still turn up only came at dusk so I started feeding just this one. He turned up every day by himself. Today I was sitting at my computer and I heard this really horrible sounding noise, like a groaning. I looked out the window and there was “my” cockatoo sitting on my windowsill but he was covered in mud, his crest was down and he was shaking. He looked like he had something wrong with his tongue and he kept opening and closing his mouth. He was very, and I mean very distressed. He was also not in his usual place. I tried to feed him but he wouldn’t take the seed. Then I noticed five other cockatoos sitting in the trees just looking at us. It was quite creepy. My cockatoo looked terrible. My heart went out to him and I was afraid that maybe he was unable to fly. I tried to reach him but was unable to. The other cockatoos then flew down to the windowsill wanting food. I waved my hands and they left – along with “my” cockatoos. It is past dusk now and “my” cockatoo has not come back as he usually does. My question is this: Is it possible that the other cockatoos could have attacked him because I was feeding him and not them? Will they kick him out of the flock or worse, kill him? If this is so I feel dreadful. If you genuinely know about their behaviour please help me understand.

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7 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

Birds are fragile creatures. In order to protect the flock, sick birds are usually given a wide berth, even sometimes to the point that the other birds won’t interact at all with the injured/sick bird.

The sick cockatoo most likely went back near the others, not close enough to rile the flock, and is sleeping. They won’t attack him, but they won’t help him either.

I’m sorry your little feathered buddy is sick. Since he isn’t tame there is little you can do. You can leave food out for him- but the other birds will take it. Unless you have a way to capture the bird and get him to a vet, there’s not much you can do. That would stress the already sick bird and perhaps do more harm than good.

You could try to make a ‘cozy’ for him and hang it near where he came to you most often. Fleece is good. They look like this to help keep him warm since his feathers are matted.

Theby's avatar

Thanks for your answer, @gemiwing I really don’t think he was sick. He looked like he had been in a battle! I would have caught him if I was able to but he was out of reach. I am sure the older birds have attacked him since “my” cockatoo is a juvenile. If he does come back and still looks injured I will try to catch him and take him to Taronga Zoo. He is a protected species and they will know what to do. None of the birds acted normally today and this adds to my suspicion that “my” cockatoo had been attacked. I feel terrible thinking that I may have caused this. I will give you updates as to what happens. Thanks again for trying to help.

gemiwing's avatar

No problem.

I don’t think the other birds attacked him, causing the damage. It’s more likely he fell or got a narrow escape from a predator or larger bird, thus getting dirty. The other birds saw him as ‘sick’ or ‘wrong’ because of his mud. Then, they might have fought with him a bit to get him out of the flock.

I really hope the Zoo can help you. I would call and ask them if they have tips or a person to spare to help you.

Good luck!

rooeytoo's avatar

The cockys where I live are often dirty, it just means they bathe in muddy water. During the dry water is scarce and they bathe wherever they can. I don’t know about the tongue part, I have seen them with messed up beaks and they can’t eat and I guess eventually die. I hate to see them sick, and I too always fed them when in Sydney. Although you are supposed to feed wild animals. Here we have more Rainbow Lorikeets than cockys, they are beautiful and we just had a cuckaburra serande, there were about 6 of them “discussing” whose tree this is!!!

ucme's avatar

I like them best when they’re bleedin demised, joined the choir invisibule, ex parrots. Much quiter & subsequently more beneficial, for me anyhoo.

Theby's avatar

Thanks for your answers everyone. I rang the zoo and found out that the cockatoo in question is a juvenile and has most probably just left the nest. The funny groaning noise that I heard was the cockatoo “keening.” It’s a sound the juveniles make when they want food. So…... happy ending!! Thanks again to you all (except ucme.)

ucme's avatar

Sobbing uncontrollably, may take me a while but i’ll get over it i’m sure.Must soldier on, for the kids if nothing else.Boo hoo, visibly shaken ;¬}

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