How Mackie An Abandoned Goffins Cockatoo Found Joy

Goffin's Cockatoo aka Tanimbar cackatoo, Goffin's Cockatoo, Tanimbar Corella
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Goffin’s Cockatoo aka Tanimbar cackatoo,
Goffin’s Cockatoo, Tanimbar Corella.

Sunday after Sunday after Sunday I read your incredibly knowledgeable and helpful newsletter

I always learn.

I appreciate so much the time you take to share your wisdom and experiences.

I am a dog person, but for the last 3 years I have had in my home a 10-12-year-old Cockatoo – forgotten about by her owner’s family when the owner committed suicide.

She was located at her grooming salon.

When I walked in and found her, she had been alone close to 3 weeks. She had a tiny bit of very polluted water, 3 or 4 seeds, (literally!), and had been shut in a too small cage all that time.

Additionally, the back door was standing open so the cats who stayed at the grooming salon could go in and out.

The weather was in the ’40s and ’50s.

To be honest, I was appalled at the family’s lack of concern for her – I do understand they were shocked and grieving.

I live in Alabama but drove the 45 minutes there and the same back to where she was, (in Tennessee), for a month, taking her fresh food, and hoping to make her feel safe.

I knew she needed a good home.

I knew she needed attention and company until they found her one.

That was her second trauma – she had already been moved out of her family’s home and left at the grooming salon because the husband did not like the noise.

Which means she was by herself a great deal of the time, as the grooming business was part-time, and never on weekends.

I know her very well now – she just wanted to be included.

They had triplets, and she was not getting much attention.

The owner’s mother said she never got any food but seed – and I think it was the equivalent of junk food seed.

She had ONE perch, so lose it was dangling at a 45-degree angle.

She had ONE old dusty toy. Ugh.

The shop had to be vacated, and she had nowhere go.

None of the family would even talk about taking her.

I could not believe I was bringing her home.

I have 3 standard poodles, and I had wanted a Macaw years ago, but saw 2 of my dogs jump fighting over a baby fledgling one of them had caught in the back yard and could hardly look at them for a week.

I know its in their genes, but I was completely sick over it. So I knew no birds could live with me. But Mackie has been here for almost 3 years – I just had to restrict the dogs to one part of the house instead of giving them free roam.

My husband has been sad for them, but I spend a lot of time in both areas.

I think Mackie is a good bird – she seems a little sad sometimes, but happy more often.

I did not know a single person with birds, so I read and read and read some more.

I had just been laid off as a government contractor the day I found her.

The contract was not renewed at the same level – very typical.

I was sad to be one of the ones to go, but was the most recent hire.

Later, I knew that was good for Mackie that I was home so much.

We have come a long way.

I have never thought she was my bird, but I have been determined she will not have another experience where she feels she has been abandoned by her flock.

I think isolation, then abandonment – well, that’s enough for her lifetime.

The owner’s husband thought she was 8 or 10.

She had never seen a vet – the owner had been a vet tech and thought she knew everything.

But she did not.

For the 8-10 years, they had her, they thought she was a male.

They called her Mr. Feathers.

Ugh. I took her to the vet as soon as I learned enough to know she needed to see one, the only one in several counties is about 45 minutes away (in the other direction).

The vet said “my bird” needed a new name because he was a she. I had been calling her “Mack” because I wanted to call her something that was a real name.

So we changed it to “Mackie” so she would not have another big adjustment.

I tried to rehire her once – I did a great deal of investigation on the person – references, had a retired bird rescue person I learned one of my husband’s friends knew to interview her.

Had her visit and visit and visit.

After a couple of months, I took Mackie and all her stuff there.

Mackie seemed to really like the girl.

Ride on my shoulder all the way there, but wouldn’t have a thing to do with me there.

The girl had a Macaw that had died – it had been her grandmother’s bird.

She had a tiny bird her parents had bought her, but she wanted a larger.

She started texting me before the night was over that Mackie was noisy.

I had given her a recording of Mackie’s noise – which I think from everything I have read is not nearly as much as most.

She was off and on the whole week: “come get her, my boyfriend does not like the noise”, “give me another day” – a yo-yo.

She decided she did not want her a week later, while I was not available to drop everything and go get her, and she would not wait until I could get there.

She called an emergency bird vet appt and dropped her off on a SUNDAY, leaving me with a $180 “emergency Sunday call” bill, plus the night of boarding.

(Not open on Saturday or Sunday, so I had to leave her in yet another strange place – in a strange cage with nothing to do – they do not put toys in the cages there because of germs.)

Since that fiasco, I have not looked anymore.

I think as hard as I worked to be sure she was going to a good place, and it was such a disaster, how could I hope for anything good.

It is so important to me that Mackie not be hurt again, or that she does not end up passed from home to home to home because people get tired of the trouble.

I have read horror stories about that.

I have had several people ask about her – just people who have heard I have her, but there has not been one that I would even consider trusting – people who want her for their kids, but I know have discarded other pets when weary of them. One couple I know fight constantly.

A policeman wanted her because his daughter wanted a pet and he would not have to buy one.

One guy wanted her for a breeder.

People are crazy.

The thing is, I did not know what I needed to know, either, but I am very trustworthy when a creature is in my care.

I have to be sure of where she goes – I am responsible for her.

 

If she stays as healthy as she appears to be, she will outlive me.

I am concerned about that.

So I will stay open to a better home for her.

I just want her to be in a good place for all her life.

I know I cannot control anything after she leaves me, so I am going to make as sure as I can of any place she might go before agreeing to it.

I got her a bigger cage.

But I want so badly to get her a really big cage – I leave her door open so she can have more real estate, but if I got her one of those large indoor aviaries, (the size of a nice walk-in closet, I would not feel bad keeping her door closed, and then my dogs would not have to stay in one part of the house.

My husband wants to know why I keep spending so much money on a bird that is not supposed to stay here, so no aviary yet.

I really did not intend to share the long story, but I want you to understand how much help resources like you provide to people like me who are in a situation where they cannot afford to remain ignorant. Thank you for your time!

This is her old cage, she has a bigger one now.

She lived in my master bath at first, but now she lives downstairs in the main hallway.

(The bedrooms are all upstairs, so when I cover her at night, she is able to not be disturbed so she gets good rest.)

I like her better downstairs because she is so much more involved.

I would like her to feel she could rule the place, but she is too timid for that.

She has a tree stand that I can sometimes talk her into using if I am working upstairs.

But not always.

I let her call the shots, and it has worked out okay.  

She mostly stays around her area – sometimes she will come out and jump to my shoulder or arm.

I was not working, so had limited funds.

I made her a play stand, also to give her more real estate when she was in her original cage, and she spent lots of time on it.

I also brought in branches, (checking first to be sure which were safe, and she would hide in them, swing upside down on them, remove the leaves, then strip the bark.

Then it would be time for new ones. She has many perches now, all different kinds.

And lots of toys, which have to be reworked or replaced often – but it thrills me to death when she destroys a toy.

She is very smart – I have been amazed at her so many times. It really makes me think all birds are probably a lot smarter than too many arrogant humans think they are.

AOL only allows 5 pictures to be attached, but I am sending 5! I am close to her former owner’s mom, and she told me she never had water for baths, (as well as fresh fruits and vegetables – she took to those, and nuts, quickly – like she was starving to death.

It took me over a year to get her to eat Harrison’s pellets.

I buy her quality seed instead of the birdie junk food kind.

(I saw the container, and know where it came from.)

But I had read they need some pellets, too.

I kept putting a couple out for a year and a half and was astonished when I discovered her eating them.

My point was trying to be that she loves her bath so much, it makes me really sad she did not have one for her first 8-10 years.

I wish I knew how old she was, but the husband really could not have cared less.

He had 10-year-old triplets to take care of. It was a really sad situation.

I hope this long communication has not bored you. I really just wanted to thank you.

Joy T 🙂

Author:

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.