Buzz, a male whiteface cockatiel, joined our flock just before
Halloween (2005) when a co-worker of my husband's called him up and asked if we could look after him because they could no
longer keep him. I'd met Buzz before, earlier in the year and had fallen instantly in love so they knew Buzz had a home
Buzz settled right in, spending his quarantine period in my daughter's room as do all new
birds coming in. He was instantly charming, showing off his vocal abilities the very next morning after his arrival
by whistling the "Andy Griffith theme song" and saying "Buzz Boy Good Bird" and a few variations of "Buzz Bird" thrown in
there. I was very impressed!
|Singing for his breakfast
Buzz is and was VERY social, eager to interract with many sound effects, including barking
like a dog, and a cute (sorta, but verging on annoying) sound he makes that could be construed as a phone perhaps? Or I call
it his electric pencil sharpener sound because he makes it when my daughter sharpens pencils.
He's vocally very adept and came equipped with many whistles and bells. My favorite is his
love of breakfast time! Every morning, he greets me with his hearts on (male cockatiels display their wings in a fashion
that looks as though their wings are heart shaped if you view them from behind.. I call it "putting their hearts on" or "heart
shaped wings" Its a form of flirting). He will chirp and kiss - cluck at me while I hold his food cup to him and
kiss at his breakfast, prancing and pacing and displaying his wings! Its ADORABLE! Yah..the way to a man's heart is
through his stomach. The same can be said for this male cockatiel!
I soon found out though, Buzz has one major drawback.
He loves interraction so far as its hands off. He, like Neo when I first got him, is terrified of hands "coming to get
him" inside the cage. He will flap in a dead panic if hands come near him in an attempt to retrieve him, even if its
just a finger for him to step up on. At first, I couldn't even put in a new toy without evoking a fear response. Buzz
had had the same toys in his cage for most of his life, the same food cup and was rarely handled. His world existed
inside his cage with those who cared for him interracting with him from the other side of the bars. Things needed to
change for this guy, but it had to be gradual. I offered him millet (ambrosia for birds) tied to things I wanted him
to experiment with, and it worked like a charm. New toys were accepted with bribes of millet hung to them. Suddenly,
they weren't scary monsters to Buzz, but intriguing things to be explored with beak and feet. Slowly, I coaxed him to
accept treats of millet out of my fingers during his time in quarantine. As long as I had millet, I spoke his language.
Buzz has been a stubborn customer. At just turned four
years old (his birthday was December 4), he's got a lot of "unlearning" to do. He's actually come a long way in the
2 months that I've had him. Just recently, Buzz has learned the joy of head scratches (we call them "scritches) and
accepts them from our fingers when he's in the mood. Its been a road of ups and downs, set backs and break throughs
- but he will now sit on my shoulder (on a good day) and preen my hair and chirp in my ear happily. He still won't step
up onto my finger from the cage willingly but he will come out of the cage onto a dowel or fly out on his own and then step
up onto my finger from there and accept handling so we still have a ways to go, but every day gets easier. Buzz is an incredible
bird with a huge heart and gigantic personality so no doubt, in the months to come, our bond will strengthen and great things
Buzz moved into Taxi and Neo's cage shortly after coming
out of quarantine. The other birds accepted him well enough and though he's never been around other birds and seemed
so fearful of new things at first, he has taken all the changes in his life in stride once he got into the swing of things.
He hasn't bonded with any one particular bird though he does sing to Neo on occasion. Neo tends to be a bit bossy towards
him and Buzz submits. For now though, Neo has actually been put in his own seperate cage but that has
nothing to do with Buzz. (Neo's being nasty to everyone due to hormones right now.) Taxi and Buzz seem to do well
enough. Taxi's a duck and everything just runs off her back like water. I've seen Taxi and Buzz sharing
millet sprigs together (Hmm..could it be love??) and if they're not in the mood to be near each other, they just
separate. I never see them fight so they must have an understanding. Trinny and Teika are in the same flight
cage with Buzz and Taxi right now while Silver and Patchie are nesting (aww babies!!!) and Neo is in his own cage
being Mr. Nasty. (Poor Baby) So far, the group seems to be doing well, so Buzz is quite adaptable with group
situations. Buzz has had the chance to mingle with Patchie and Silver before they went to nest and actually
the three of them hit it off quite well. I daresay Silver even took a liking to him. I think, once all the hormones
settle down and things get back to some semblence of normal, it will seem as though Buzz has always been part of
the flock and not the new guy on the block!