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My cockatiel, Aristotle

Updated on January 28, 2016

Aristotle was a white cockatiel. These birds are specially bred to imitate the coloring of the cockatoos after which they are named. Aristotle did not have the personality of my previous cockatiels; I got her so that my daughter wouldn't discover that the one she gave me got away.

I of course hoped I could get close to this bird as I had the others. Cockatiels act more like pets than other cage birds, and each has its own personality.

The first thing I realized was that Aristotle was erroneously named – this was a female, and so would not speak. Still, she squawked when I entered the room in welcome. She would also squeak and chirple when well-known television shows’ themes played, such as Star Trek. And she would get excited when a particular ad for ED showed, since it had a whistling background; I used to tell Aristotle that her boyfriend had come to visit.

Because of over-zealous clipping of one wing by the pet store, Aristotle’s one wing never grew back; when she tried to fly, she’d fly in circles. But she liked to walk around the house. As soon as she found my feet, she’d climb up my leg and torso till she got to my shoulder, where she liked to perch all day. She would snuggle under my long hair as if cuddling under her mother in the nest. She would drink saliva from my lower lip.

I was so accustomed to her on my shoulder that I would open a door or walk outside with her there, and have to quickly turn around when I realized she was there. If she was loose and perching somewhere, you could open the door (I’d even accidentally left the door open on a couple of occasions) and she would never go out.

During the summer I would put her cage out on the patio, so she could watch the world go by and chat with the wild birds. Neighbors walking their dogs would stop by; she became a great conversation opener.

After about four years and one move later, I got a second cockatiel, Socrates, to keep Aristotle company. A few weeks after that I found Aristotle dead at the bottom of the cage. There was no blood, only a couple of loose feathers, so I suspect death from old age. Socrates seemed sad. I think he tried to resuscitate her.

© 2015 Bonnie-Jean Rohner


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