The Great Albino Cockatiel Rescue Caper

Albino cockatiel

Our (currently) nameless
white feathered friend

It’s not uncommon for us to get a call starting with the words “Hi, I just found a Cockatiel,” which was the precise nature of a phone call yesterday. Thanks to all of you we’ve been very busy these days, so jumping in a car driving across Chicago to rescue a bird is very time-consuming.
As luck would have it the caller indicated that the wayward bird stuck in her bushes was two blocks away across from a bar called the Lockdown (great food and beer but lousy head banger music – unless you are into head banger music) so I grabbed a (no longer made) Flying South backpack bird carrier and marched north on Western Ave to track down our devious escapee.
The woman on the phone was clearly the woman standing on the front steps of a very nice building looking at the “white bird” in the bushes. We originally thought it might have been a cockatoo because she described as a white bird but it was lovely little Albino Cockatiel just hanging out in the middle of some bushes clearly scared as the dickens.
We get the little bird back to the Birdie Boutique were we have to find a place to keep its little butt so we can get on with our work day after we spent some time uploading its picture to Facebook and Parrotalert 911 and posting to neighborhood sites.

During its capture and now having handled it through the subsequent move from the rescue backpack to its new temporary surroundings it’s clear this bird has been someone’s pet because it”s not really biting hard and turned out to be quite finger tame.

The new resident took up its new working domicile on top of the microwave which is in top of the refrigerator – providing a birds eye view

small bird bird cage by Prevue pet
Mitch Rezman with Tommy a 3 1/2-year-old parrot falcon on left gloved hand

Me with Tommy a 3 1/2-year-old Peregrine falcon
(fastest animal on the planet)
With a full feeder dish full of Volkman Cockatiel Seed and fresh water our new guest chowed down for what must have been about 30 minutes. We expected it to be pretty tired from his adventures so far and go to sleep but it remained alert and attentive through all of our moves.

We took it home and set it up on the kitchen table just as you see it in the picture above. Plenty of light in the kitchen and solitude in the evening so it could get a good nights sleep. During the course of the evening we learned that not only did it have the ability but it wasn’t a bad little flyer. it was also a stark reminder to keep the tall step stool close to aid in retrieval from the top of the kitchen cabinets.

This morning Catherine took the car with her new all-white feathered friend in the cage to work.

With the backdrop of the kitchen cabinet retrieval, Catherine was reaching out to her many Facebook bird groups seeking input on the wing clipping issue. which brings us to why there’s a picture of me and a falcon in this Cockatiel tail.

We’re proud of our new affiliation with the International Heritage Conservancy. Spending time learning the centuries old sport/art of falconry has given me an entirely new outlook on the flight (abilty) of birds.

Something we will cover in future topics but for now suffice it to say I’m learning how we impart knowledge to a raptor that when he’s a half a mile up and a mile away flying towards prey

custom-made wooden bird carrier

20-year-old custom-made
all wood bird carrier
Prevue 123 birdcage with albino cockatiel

Un furnished birdcage seriously
needs lots of toys and accessories
at almost 200 miles an hour, the bird must have absolute clarity of mission. If this for no other reason after watching it time & again I’ve gone over to the anti-wing clipping side of the argument.

That said when it was time to have “the wing clipping conversation” this afternoon I stated my opposition to Catherine. The reality is the flipside – we could keep the little guy cooped up all day so it wouldn’t fly around the shop (and our home) or we could keep it grounded which would really give it a little more freedom because we would be more comfortable letting it out of the cage.

The compromise was to just remove a couple of inches of its primaries (flight feathers) which as it turns out allows it to maintain horizontal flight (keeping it from crashing into the ground when it takes off) but lift is problematic so the step stools can be put away – for now.

On to the next three housing challenges. First the blue and black “rescue” birdcage (above right) is much too small for daily Cockatiel habitation. We addressed that problem the Prevue 123 (pictured left).

The second problem was after two weeks with no days off was time to go down to our campground in Indiana which led to the third problem, IF we were going to take it down to Indiana with us, the blue black cage was too small for daily living but too big for travel so we pulled out our favorite small bird wooden carrier (pictured above right) to carry him to and from. Hoie breeder bird cage with base cabinet
Hoei all aluminum breeder birdcage with base cabinet discontinued in 2007
custom made all wood bird play stand for small birds Bringing a bird cage into an 8 foot wide trailer even with a 3 foot bump out poses a real space challenge. We solved this with the Hoei breeder cage pictured above.

Unfortunately it’s no longer available which is why we held onto this one. It has a narrow footprint and the all aluminum construction is well-suited for an indoor and outdoor environment as we like to put it on the porch as weather permits.

Which brings us to the last piece of a puzzle. Having a bird cage for your bird is a given when the bird is out of the cage and you want to go into another

room in your home (or trailer) it’s best to have some sort of play stand providing your bird with a comfortable place to be while sharing your company. Or just put him on the back of the chair which your bird may or may not begin to chew up and or poop on.
So to recap, we rescued all of 3 ounces of feathers a week before Memorial Day weekend which means it’ll probably be with us for the next week or two. In preparation of this relatively short stay for those of you keeping track we’ve now put into play five pieces of equipment not to mention several pounds of bird food, millet, bird toys and accessories that we feel are the barest necessities to take care of a bird as simple as a Cockatiel.
Cockatiel on isolated white background
I wrote this for those of you thinking of acquiring a pet bird and all the others we hope understand that even a Cockatiel is a quarter-century commitment to one of God’s living breathing creatures blessed with the ability to fly.
Buy probiotics for birds

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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