The Flock

The flock, Past and Present:

Today, we have three parrots (Ptak and Tayir, the parrotlets, and Maverick the Senegal Parrot), a fat tuxedo cat named Bailey, three fancy rats, and the world’s sweetest and most gentle dwarf hamster. I also have a super-cute service dog prospect (ahem, cloud) named Atlas.



Sex: Male

Species: Cobalt Celestial (Pacific) Parrotlet.

Favourite food: Millet, of course… Sunflower seeds… And strawberries.

Favourite activities: Shredding paper, walking around on the floor, hanging upside down, saying his name.

Hates: PAPER. Crinkly things. Loud noises. Jingly things. They all must die.

Quirk: You can’t use a tissue around him, or he’ll have your fingers.

Vocabulary: Pretty bird, baby bird, you silly bird, good, how are you, what are you doing, Ptak, please, O-LI, excuse me,  ‘scuse me, sorry, three, peekaboo, hmm, tickle-tickle, scritch scritch, kiss kiss kiss, mwwwaaa-ahh, yummy, hi, beep-beep, let’s open the door, koolaid.

Mimics also: running water, coughs and sneezes, camera shutter noises, our cockatiel/canary/senegal, my laugh, various kiss noises, clicking, and an un-weaned baby bird’s call.

Nicknames: Peeka.

Did you know? Parrotlets are the smallest parrots bred in aviculture.



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Sex: Male.

Favorite food: Most fruits: Pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries, banana. He also really likes raw sugar snap peas and steamed broccoli.

Favourite activities: Shrieking. Locating potential nests. Divebombing humans. Saying, ‘Awwwwww, MAVI,’ and then soaking up the adoration that obviously follows because it’s so cute. Strutting up and down the couch.

Hates: Toys? And men. (We’re working on both those things.)

Quirk: He often rolls onto his back randomly.

Vocabulary: Hi, Mavi, Hello, Maverick, how are you, pretty bird, awwwwww, step up, love you, whatcha doing, where’s the you.

Mimics also: muttering, beeping, coughing, sneezing, light switches clicking, car alarms, whistling, our parrotlet.

Nicknames: Mavi.

Did you know? Poicephalus means ‘made of head,’ because their heads and beaks are so large in proportion to their small, stocky bodies.


Birds of the Past:

Charlie and Pip:

These two were our first birds. We bought two tiny canaries from a somewhat dubious pet shop in Glasgow. Charlie sadly passed away in October of 2012. We miss him every day. Pip was re-homed when I was forced to leave Scotland, but I know she’s very loved.

Charlie – right; Pip, left.

Sex: Charlie was male; Pip’s female.

Species: Gloucestershire Consort Canary (Pip), and a Fife canary (Charlie).

Favourite edible substances: EVERYTHING EVER.

Favourite activities: Eating. Avoiding moving.


Nicknames: Pip-let, Pippo (or Hippo), Pipsqueak. Charlie was always just Charlie!

Did you know? There is a variation of Gloster canaries called corona – these have a round crest, which personally reminds me a little of a monk.



Mishka is a nutty, neurotic bundle of energy. She’s also our third bird, first parrot. We love her to bits, but she is a challenge. [Update: I am absolutely devastated to write that Mishka passed away just before the first day of 2014. There simply aren’t words.]

August of last year.

Sex: Again… Debatable – technically male, but we call her a female, since that’s what she was sold to us as. She doesn’t mind.

Species: Cockatiel.

Colour mutation: Normal grey.


Loves: Pip, shredding things, singing into my ear, flying around like a maniac, standing on the rims of cups.

Hates: EVERYTHING EVER. Except Pip, pizza, and millet. But no, really, try and touch her. It won’t happen again.

Vocabulary: Mishka doesn’t talk; however, she does mimic a few things. In addition to her vast repertoire of charming beautiful shrieks, chirps, and squawks, she can do astounding imitations of a camera shutter and a laugh. She’s also learnt a bit of Jingle Bells and the theme to the game Caesar 3.

Nicknames: We mostly call her Maloo – more than we actually call her Mishka.

Did you know? There are many different colour mutations of cockatiels bred in captivity, but the grey and yellow – like Mishka – are the ones found in the wild.




We said to ourselves, ‘No more birds, and especially no white cockatoos,’ and then we met Bobo. He charmed us immediately, and I fell witness to the incredible manipulative talents of an umbrella cockatoo. They are masters of turning from sweet to violent in a moment’s time.

Bobo recently went to live at a sanctuary because of how dangerous he is and was. I would have brought him with me when I moved; however, I was then living with my parents, and it would not have been safe for them. Bobo had good moments and bad. Overall, he is hormonal, unpredictable – but also not atypical. He is just an adult male cockatoo. That’s what they’re like. And I miss him every day.

Cockatoos in particular are not meant to be pets. I would never recommend buying a ‘too – wouldn’t even recommend adopting one to your average bird lover. They’re incredibly complex and have amazing personalities, but they also have meltdowns and severe behavioural issues that are spurred by instinct. If you can adopt or re-home one and offer it a safe, loving place with your family, I encourage it, but please, think carefully before bringing one home.

Sex: Male.

Species: Umbrella cockatoo

Favourite activities: Reducing wooden objects to splinters in mere seconds, unscrewing things, weaving cloth through the bars of his cage, parading around on the floor whilst singing.

Quirk: He grunts and grumbles like a small, grumpy child when he’s not happy with something. He also uncovers himself in the morning and plays quietly until we come in to ‘wake’ him.

Vocabulary: Hi, Bobo, hello, bye-bye, good bird, what, lalala, darling.

Nicknames: Bo.

Did you know? Umbrellas have the intelligence of a 5-year-old, and the emotional capacity of a 3-year-old. Buying or adopting one is literally like taking on a toddler.

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18 thoughts on “The Flock

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  1. Great flock! I want a cobalt colour mutation parrotlet at some point in my life. I’m sad to read that you had to give up bobo, but I can already see that it made him a much happier bird and that you had his best interest in mind. Are there any other types of birds that you would eventually want to add to your flock?


    1. My parrotlet is definitely my baby bird (which happens to be his favourite phrase, currently, haha). I have a particular fondness for the little birds! We miss Bobo, but honestly, if she had the space, I would send all my flock to live there. It is an amazing set up, and they have their own trained chef who cooks for the birds. Poor Bobo just wasn’t equipped to live with people.

      Oooh, dream birds: hyacinth macaw (will probably never own one, but love them), a grey, or any conure. I’m not fussed as to what species we adopt, though. For example, Mavi was not a bird we were interested in previously, but once we met him we had to take him home. 😀

      Any other dream birds yourself?


      1. Conures are fantastic… I would probably go for a galah cockatoo, a pair of caiques, a cape parrot, an indian ringneck (or one of their close relatives) and possibly a catalina macaw… But at this point I really don’t have the resources to care for any of those birds, which is a shame. Being a student is such a hinderance! But you’re right, if you just click with a bird at a rescue, species doesn’t matter AS much. Unless you really clicked with like a moluccan cockatoo… then you might have to think about it twice :p


        1. Love IRNs and caiques, but have to say, Bobo put me off cockatoos – period. The sanctuary where he now lives has a galah (who also happens to be his new best friend) and she is a little terror. We clicked with Bobo, haha, and look what happened. Not a Moluccan, but U2s are nearly as infamous… And I’ve decided I need to have my head checked after that. 😀


        2. Hahaha i understand the cockatoo thing! It would probably be the second-last bird I get – right before the macaw. By no means do I see myself as knowledgeable enough to handle any sort of cockatoo after only keeping cockatiels, but galahs just steal my heart every time I see one…
          Mavi is from the same family as Cape Parrots (and i wouldn’t generalise from one species to the other like that but just to get a general idea) what are poicephalus like? I have read online that Cape parrots are a little more gentle, but in terms of intelligence, temperament, attitudes, energy levels… What would you say? There’s less info online about poicephalus than about most other, more popularly kept breeds of birds


        3. I adore Galahs, too – their little pink crests are so cute! Crested birds have the advantage, too, of the obvious indicator on their heads, haha.

          Hmm, I have also heard that Cape Parrots are more gentle (though it’s always from those wikipedia-like sites, so I’m a bit suspicious). Sennies are great, I love Mavi. Extremely intelligent and loves to play. His ‘faults’ are that he’s very much a one-person bird (not uncommon, but we have to work hard so that my boyfriend can handle him safely) – and also that he is SO energetic. We have to keep our energy very calm around him, or he feeds off it and gets nippy. The other sennies I’ve met have been similar.

          In general, Maverick is a pretty nippy bird and can change moods fairly quickly. I don’t mind his bites, but it can hurt. Pois apparently often chomp down without warning (you actually haven’t missed a signal). He does the classic charging thing as well, another Poi trait, but so long as we stay on top of his diet and exercise he’s okay. I’m thinking he’s a candidate for free flight training.

          Oh! Mavi loves, loves, loves any kind of training. He is completely focussed during our sessions. Anything for hemp seed! He seems to ‘get’ what I want immediately. Whether he’s as clever as a grey is debatable – but I think that’s more because greys are simply so intelligent. Our ‘tiel is smart, but Mavi can easily open locks and cage doors.

          Senegals also have adorable little voices! Mavi’s is quite cute. He doesn’t say many words, but has a full repertoire of convincing household noises. His shriek is piercing, too. I’d rate it as more annoying than a U2’s scream, if that helps.

          If you don’t mind the nippiness and charging behaviour, sennies are fantastic. Someone we know once said that they’re the perfect size: small enough not to take off a finger, but large enough to have the ‘full parrot experience.’ (He was being silly, but it’s true!)


  2. Very beautiful flock! I love them 🙂 Thank you for checking out my blog at Glad to see other’s that love birds as much as I do. Someday I’ll grow my flock too! 🙂


  3. I have five darlings….two male Keets, a Lovie, and two Conures….a Sun Conure and a Black Capped Conure. My first bird was a Cockatiel who I got as a weanling. I had him for twenty years, and he passed on from heart failure this year. I miss him terribly. I use to live in Ecuador, so having a house full of flighted parrots keeps me extremely happy and busy! I enjoy your blog so much. Thanks for putting it out in cyber space. I use to live in Boonsboro, not far from your location. I just love that area and miss it so.


  4. You have a beautiful flock! I’ve only ever owned Budgies/Parakeets, but I adore the species! I currently own two Parakeets named Skittles and Nico. We are actually thinking about building an aviary and expanding our flock, as well. I’ve always had a love for Conures and Amazon Parrots. I’m thinking about adopting a Green Cheek Conure in the very near future, but first up…..research! Perhaps maybe later in life I’ll be able to adopt an Amazon Parrot, but right now there is no way on Earth I’d have the time for one. I’ve always wanted to own a Parrotlet, they remind me of smaller version of Budgies! Anyways, you’ve got a great flock there! 🙂


    1. Parakeets are so nice and quiet. It’s the parrot experience without the major troubles


  5. I am IN LOVE with birds. I really want some (yes more than one) But EVERY SINGLE TYPE OF BIRD is verbally abused by my mom who says their tongue is gross and they’re ugly. 😦 Any tips?


  6. Galahs,and any cockatoos are high, high needs. Most are neglected through ignorance not cruelty. All cockatoos will bite if you cannot read their body language, bites are painful and usually bloody. I have a well trained galah, but his name is Chopper, and I sustained quite a few painful bloody bites till he got over his anxiety and I learned when his no means no. He was adopted not hand raised, I knew nothing of his previous life. They need a special diet ,not seeds ,and lots of interaction. All cockatoos bite, they are only 1 or 2 steps from wild, if they bite each other they get a beak of feathers, if they bite a hairless ape they get blood and flesh, you cannot react either, that teaches them biting works to get rid of you,I have a galah, I would never get a bigger cockatoo.


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