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“Can I have a pet bird, Mom?” Well…those were words I did not want to ever hear. A pet bird? What? I had a few pet birds when I was younger, and they were pretty cool, especially the small parrot I had in college. But that ended badly, because parrots are loud pets, who wake up very early and start singing (sometimes screeching). That type of behavior is not compatible with a college lifestyle, or college roommates!

So, Plato, my parrot, stayed with me for about a year, and then I had to get rid of him. A very nice man who owned the bird store where I bought him, “adopted” him from me. I’m sure Plato lived out a wonderful life.

Flash forward to a few months ago, when our 11-year old daughter started asking for a bird! Oh my… My first reaction was to quickly say NO and end the discussion. But a few days passed, and she was still asking for a bird. A week later, she presented a slideshow to us explaining the joys of bird ownership and all the other positive things that would come from owning your own bird.

Next, she began researching what type of bird she wanted. She went back and forth between a couple of different birds, but she finally settled on a Cockatiel! Next thing I knew, I was online researching bird stores nearby and reading up on Cockatiels and the type of care they would need.

I continued to tell her NO WAY, as I secretly researched birds while she was at school. And every time I told her NO WAY, she begged and pleaded and had a long list of reasons why a bird would be wonderful. I tried to be strong. I really did. But suddenly I found myself wavering…

How did this happen? I remembered back to my birds, and I vividly remember the parakeet I had when I was about 10 or 11. He was a beautiful blue color, and his name was Sam. When he was happy, he would hop on your finger and tweet away. When he wasn’t happy, he would bite your finger so hard it would break the skin. Ouch!

I didn’t want the Cockatiel that I now knew we would eventually own to be this way, so I researched hand-fed baby cockatiels. Yes…I really did. My husband and I visited a few stores (he was thrilled), and we ended up settling on Birdiac’s Bird Shop. We wanted to surprise our daughter with a cockatiel on her birthday, so we headed to the store to get the scoop on what we would need to buy for our future bird.

Well…it’s much more complicated than just driving to your local pet store, picking out a bird and a cage, and heading home. To get yourself a hand-fed baby, you must come in to the store, pick out your baby bird, and then visit him each week until he is ready to come home.

These sweet babies are hand-fed by a foster parent. They are not allowed to go home with just anyone. From the moment you walk in to ask about baby Cockatiels, they are watching you and deciding whether or not you are ready for one of their babies. Fortunately (or unfortunately), we passed the test.

My husband and I met all the babies, and after holding all 3 of the available birds, we settled on our sweet, little, almost featherless Gizmo. So now the fun could begin.

As the new owners of Gizmo, they ask that you visit the store each Saturday to bond with your new baby, so surprising our daughter with a Cockatiel was out of the question. She began visiting Gizmo when he was just a few weeks old. We went every weekend to spend several hours with him at the store. It was so fun watching her get to know her new pet!

After just a few weeks, Gizmo knew Morgan when she walked in. He happily climbed all over her, ate treats from her hand, and slept on her shoulder, and occasionally took off in flight exploring the warehouse where we played. After a few ladder rescues from the ceiling beams and lots of bonding time with Gizmo, he was finally ready to come home with us. What a fun day that was.

Gizmo has now been home with us for about 4 months, and we can hardly imagine our life without him. All 4 of us (my son included) have taken to this bird in a way that shocks us all. We all love Gizmo, and Gizmo loves us all back. I assumed that this bird would spend a lot of time in his cage, but it seems we have spoiled him.

Now, as soon as he hears us walking in the door, he squawks and whistles until one of us rescues him from his cage. And he doesn’t have small cage. He’s got a deluxe bird house, but this bird is more like a puppy – he wants to be wherever his people are. So this means that when our daughter is at school, Gizmo is either playing on my desk with me, or down in my husband’s study taking conference calls with him!

And yes, my husband and I have both bought “toys” and playgrounds for Gizmo for when he’s with us at our desks. We are officially BIRD NERDS!

As I’m typing this blog post, Gizmo is on my shoulder sound asleep (see selfie)! He spends most of his time on my shoulder or my husband’s. It’s funny…we were moving along just fine, and we didn’t even know that we needed a bird!

I decided that since this post is all about Morgan’s bird (although during the school day, it’s my bird), that I’d have her guest blog about her first few months as a Cockatiel owner! Here is what she had to say…

“Deciding to get a bird was the best decision of my entire life. Gizmo is such a cute bird, and he is very entertaining and loving. Despite the occasional loud shriek, he’s pretty low maintenance. I’m surprised by the fact that a bird could have such a distinct personality. He is very social, but at times he will peck at you if you try to go near him. He’s very moody. One moment he’ll be snuggling with you, and the next he will be pecking at your finger. Somehow, when doing this, he never bites. He does this weird nibble thing to get your attention.

It surprises me that Gizmo is so snuggly. He always bends his head down towards my fingers when he wants me to scratch his head and neck. I never thought a pet bird would let me do that. Overall, Gizmo is amazing and bizarre. I’m very happy I got a bird.”

So there you have it! My daughter is amazing, because she was not only able to convince me to let her get a bird, but she got my husband on board as well! Watch out for this one. She’s powerful!

If you need help with family photos, or photos of your pet, you can find me and my camera over at Paula Mason Photography. Let me know if I can help you!

Until next time…