My Pet Parrot Stories #1: Marijke & Alfonso

Have you heard about our new monthly publication yet? My Pet Parrot Stories by Parrot Essentials puts the spotlight on our customers’ parrots. With every bird comes a story, and we’d love to hear yours! Go to the My Pet Parrot Stories introduction post to read more and introduce your feathered friend to us. PS: Stories that are selected for publishing win a £50 Parrot Essentials gift code.

For our first pet parrot story, we’re meeting Alfonso (more commonly known as Fonzie) the wild-type cockatiel and his owner Marijke. Alfonso is a rescue of unknown age, with plenty of sass and an unwavering love of lettuce.

How we met

After I moved from The Netherlands to Spain in 2018, I could finally have pets. I initially chose a single budgie, which quickly turned to two budgies (the number has risen to four now). I love my little pocket rockets, but I felt my home was still missing a calmer and maybe more snuggly bird. But I didn’t want to buy another parrot, not with the amount needing rescue.

Through an exotic animal rescue organization, I was sent to a ladies’ house nearby on an impromptu mission to pick up a cockatiel: her ex had left it at her house and she wanted it gone now. Alfonso came with a tiny cage, no toys, and a big bag of birdseed. The taxi driver had a good laugh at the display. 

Once home, I approached with great caution, expecting a scared and stressed bird. Imagine my surprise when the little guy stepped right onto my finger, climbed onto my shoulder and burst into song! We’ve been inseparable ever since.

My Pet Parrot Stories by Parrot Essentials: Alfonso the cockatiel
Oh, how they wish to preen and sing to him! He never lets them, though.

Seeds to Pellets

When I got Alfonso, his feeder was filled to the brim with supermarket birdseed and he was a bit underweight. I picked up some Harrison’s High Potency and braced myself for a long battle to get him to accept them, but he promptly dug in. You can actually read more about switching a parrot from seeds to pellets in our full post on getting your bird used to a new diet.

Now, there is only one thing he loves more than his pellets (and anything crunchy; I cannot eat my Doritos in peace): lettuce! All other veggies are considered highly suspicious, but green leaves are the best thing there is.

Activities & Talents

Fonzie is still getting used to the concept of toys. I love catching a glimpse of him carefully pecking at them! His favourite type of toy is not a parrot toy, though, it’s jewellery. He can spend hours on my shoulder pecking at my ear piercings, although I have to keep him away from my nose ring. Ouch.

He’s very loving and nothing makes him happier than sitting with someone. When I have friends over, he often startles them by using their head as a perch, but most are quick to forgive ‘cause he’s just so darn cute!

Fonzie is a great singer, but only in cockatiel language. I suppose he’s too old to be open to picking up tunes (the lady I got him from didn’t know his age), but I’ll keep trying nonetheless.

My Pet Parrot Stories by Parrot Essentials: Marijke & Alfonso
Piercings and other jewellery are much more fun than parrot toys!

What I wish I’d known

I was pretty prepared when I got Alfonso, but I guess the main thing I wish I’d known before getting a cockatiel is that I’d never eat in peace again! I would have savoured those sandwiches that didn’t get trampled by bird feet much more.

Cockatiel Profile & Care Guide by Parrot Essentials

These charming little birds, native to Australia, have captured the hearts of bird enthusiasts all around the globe. With their distinctive crests, playful personalities, and melodious voices, cockatiels make excellent companions for bird lovers of all ages.

Caring for a cockatiel involves a combination of providing a nurturing environment, meeting their dietary needs, and engaging them in social interaction. First and foremost, a spacious cage is essential to ensure your feathered friend has enough room to spread their wings. The cage should be equipped with perches of varying sizes and materials, as well as toys for mental stimulation. Remember, cockatiels are intelligent creatures that thrive on mental and physical activities. A stimulating environment is crucial for their well-being.

Cockatiels enjoy spending time with their human companions, so it’s important to dedicate a few hours each day to bonding and play. Gentle handling, talking to them, and providing opportunities for out-of-cage exploration can strengthen the bond between you and your bird. Just be sure to create a safe environment free from hazards such as open windows and household chemicals.

Go here to read the full Cockatiel and Profile Care Guide.

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