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Nikkie's Cockatiels

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Apache's Page

                        Meet Apache!

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We brought Apache home in May of 2004.  Since Mother's Day had recently passed without much celebration (everyone was ill), our wedding anniversary was rapidly approaching, and my birthday was not far behind, my husband had been picking my brain for gift ideas.  (I admit I'm hard to shop for). Hehe!  It was more than likely a HUGE relief when he saw the yearning in my eyes as I gazed upon that "cockatiel in the window".  Besides, even Scott (my husband) is a sucker for a pretty face! What man isn't!
 
Even though the sign above the cage in the store advertised their cockatiels as "handfed babies", it soon became apparant that Apache was not accustomed to being handled.  She cowered in her cage and would flutter away wildly when I'd open the door to replace her food and water.  She scarecly made a peep except for the occasional chirp, even after several days, and when she was really feeling jumpy, she even hissed like a snake!  Boy I had a lot to learn!  It was my friend to the rescue again, giving me some advice and a link to a great site on the web, http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/ .  I learned A LOT there about how to approach my new cockatiel and what her different postures and vocalizations meant.  I also learned how to gain her trust.  I bought a few books and read magazine articles as well, but the vast majority of what I've learned came from fellow bird owners themselves.

Stepping Out on Daddy's Finger For the First Time
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I soon learned Apache LOVED millet! She was a millet junkie!  Within a few weeks, I managed to coax her to sit on my finger inside her cage while nibbling on millet.  One day, my husband brought her out of her cage while she sat perched on his finger.  The same day, she graduated to his shoulder, and then to mine.  From that day on, the trust was established. 

First Perch on Mom's Shoulder
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Every cockatiel I'd ever encountered up until that point had been extremely vocal, except Apache.  Although she was becoming friendlier by the day, she still didn't whistle.  I was told by the petshop staff that "she" was a "he" based on the vibrant color of the cheeks, but as I researched cockatiels and mutations, I learned that being a "pied" meant that both males and females sported bright cheek patches. 
 
Just to be safe, I took Apache to the vet for a well bird check-up. I wanted to make sure she was healthy and there wasn't an underlying medical reason why there wasn't much vocalization.  After examining her and running some tests, my vet assured me that all was fine.  Apache was approximately six months old (based on the condition of her primary flight feathers) and probably a hen, NOT a male.  Hens are generally quieter than males and some hardly chirp at all.  Pied mutations can't be visually sexed, I was told, but based on what I'd explained, my vet was fairly sure Apache was a "she" and I'd know for sure if "she" laid eggs later on.  BOY was I relieved!  So, now the mystery was solved and I was happy to know my baby was probably a girl!

Apache proved to be the PERFECT first bird! Within weeks, she was giving me kisses while perched on my finger or shoulder and rubbing her little mohawk against my lips.  She was adventerous and loved being out of her cage and didn't seem to mind when my 10 year old daughter insisted on playing "barbie" with her.  In fact, she seemed to like it!

Tiel Sized Jeep!
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Although definitely a "Mama's" girl, Apache is pretty laid back and will generally perch on anyone who wants to hold her.  She never hisses or bites, and always steps up!  She's the most mellow cockatiel of my flock.  Her favorite pastime is getting kisses from Mom.  She LOVES that, and its about the only time she vocalizes.  She makes the cutest little cheeping sound when I've hit the right "spot" on her head with my lips. There isn't much Apache DOESN'T like except head scratches.  She DOES NOT like to be scratched on the head with a finger. Lips only please. Barbie jeeps, doll clothes and play houses are fine, but don't touch try to touch her head.

Right THERE Mom!
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 I found Apache great company while I did my dishes. She'd perch on my shoulder and I'd sing. One day, while washing dishes with me, she began making this odd sound that sounded like a person grinding their teeth.  I learned this was called "beak grinding", a sound contented cockatiels make when they are dropping off to sleep. I also learned it was a sign of trust for a cockatiel to do that on "her" owners shoulder so soon after bringing her home.  She'd been home for just a few short weeks.  That made me feel warm and fuzzy. 
 
I learned that dishes weren't the only thing that could be washed in sinks!  Tiels, being related to cockatu's, give off a dander that can be reduced by bathing them with a warm water mist bath.  I was not sure if she'd like it or not, but my concerns were soon laid to rest.  Again, my tolerant Apache, of all three of my tiels, loves her baths more than the others!  

First Bath
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Patchie is also a computer junkie!  For some reason, she loves to walk on my keyboard while I type.  I think she likes the feeling of the keys under her feet.  The mouse is certainly worth investigating as well though. 

Click & Send
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Hunt & Peck Typing
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Play Time With Kirsten
My Daughter devises many activities for "poor" Apache, which she patiently tolerates.  She has me to intercept so when enough is enough, Mom always takes Apache away and gives her a treat for being such a sport.  Apache has such a sweet nature, I honestly don't think she minds playing "dress-up" or house.  In fact, I think Apache thinks she's "People" and not "Bird". Fortunately for Apache, "dress-up" sessions are few and far in between and the dress she "appears" to be wearing is actually being held up to her while she is perched on my daughter's finger.  Clever trick of the camera!

Is this a good color for me?
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Brr.. its cold out!
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Tiel RV
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So now you've had a chance to meet Apache.  She's brought me a lot of joy. The most amazing thing was earning her trust because it wasn't just handed to me. I had to work for it! She rewards me every day and inspired me to add to the flock!
 
Click on the picture below to meet Neo, or use the navigation bar at the top to browse the pages you'd like to view.  Apache thanks you for visiting her page.

Peak A Beak at Neo's Page!
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Keep Current with the Flock! You can read all about Patchie, Neo, Silver, Taxi, Teika, Trinity & Buzz at Tiel Tales, their very own, up to the minute BLOG!

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