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FEATURE


up cockatoos is not an easy task and can result in fatalities, not something I want on my conscience. We have also considered putting him in a large, mixed bird aviary but suspect he wouldn’t cope well as he often can’t fly.


There is no easy answer to George’s problems but having lived with a bird who feather plucks I now feel quite strongly that those people that claim that feather plucking is due to boredom, neglect or abuse are over simplifying the problem. George has been given everything that we could think of to make life in captivity as good as it can be, he shouldn’t have been bored and he certainly has never been neglected or abused now or at any time in the past, yet he still plucks his feathers. I know of many other birds that have been neglected and abused and they never pull a feather in their life. I don’t know why George started feather plucking, I do know that it has become a habit, much like biting your fingernails, a habit which is proving very difficult to stop. George is our responsibility and we, as his owners, are responsible for his well being and I hate to think that we have failed him in not understanding his behaviour. I’m sure there are other members reading this who can relate to George’s story as his behaviour is not unusual especially in Cockatoos, it has made me question whether Cockatoos


should be kept as pets. A couple of years ago I would have answered differently, based on my own experiences with our Umbrella Cockatoo Louis who is a little darling but I have spoken to more people who have a story like George’s than those who have lived for many years happily with a pet Cockatoo. And that was where the article was going to finish, until George met Linda and George and Linda fell in love and George went to live with Linda and George is now known as Gorgeous George! Linda is not another Cockatoo she’s a friend who came to visit, George perked up as soon as they were introduced and spent the rest of the evening going out of his way to charm her. It worked. Once we had all got over the shock of George’s new love affair and his usual behaviour was spelt out in no uncertain terms to Linda, surprisingly she didn’t flinch or run straight to the door, it was tentatively suggested by Linda that she took George in on a trial basis. I had no doubts that Linda would give George a very good home as she has had some great success in the past with difficult birds (I secretly call her the parrot whisperer).My feelings were mainly of guilt, I felt guilty that I was passing on a problem and giving up on George, now two months on and George happily settled with Linda I realise that I was more guilty of believing that only I


Once we had all got over the shock of George’s new love affair and his usual behaviour was spelt out in no uncertain terms to Linda, surprisingly she didn’t flinch or run straight to the door, it was tentatively suggested by Linda that she took George in on a trial basis.


BIRD SCENE 19


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