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Monday, September 28, 2009
Tiki & Spike

By Linda Costello
Explore the diaries of daily life with large birds.

Spike and Tiki are two peas in a pod
Spike, a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo, and Tiki, an umbrella cockatoo, are best friends.

Tiki is an umbrella cockatoo. She makes me laugh when she struts her stuff, crest standing straight up, looking as if she is going to burst forth with the loudest ear-shattering  scream you've ever heard ... only to hear this little peep sound instead.

But, like all cockatoos, there are times when she can be loud.

She has had several owners. I think it might have been difficult for any of them to part with her. I was told the first owner was an older woman who, for health reasons, was unable to care for her any longer.

Her second owner gave her up to a pet shop where she was adopted out and returned a couple of times.

Finally, a friend of mine, a guy who is more in tune with his bigger rowdy Moluccan cockatoos and rambunctious Goffin’s than this shy little umbrella, had adopted her from this pet shop. He called her Sweetie. After having her for some time, he asked if I would like to have her.

All of my parrots have their own cages and playstands where they spend their time preening, playing or just hanging out.

Sometimes I play music for them. The more vocal ones chime in with their own bird version of what ever song is playing.

Tiki is the quiet one that will sometimes do a little head bobbing to the to the rest of the commotion. Err, I mean music!

For the most part they all get along from afar. But there is always an exception.

Tiki has a friend; a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo friend Spike. Spike was given to me by the same friend who had given Tiki to me. Seems he got Spike from the same pet shop. He insisted that little forlorn Spike missed Tiki terribly and asked if I would take him in too.

Spike adores Tiki. He will plaster himself up against her and stay that way as she preens him for what seems like hours.

They go in and out of each others’ cages and can safely be caged together. That is until recently.

Tiki has taken to over preening Spike, so now I have to put them in separate cages to sleep at night or when I am gone from home. I try to make up for it by letting them spend more time together when I am home to watch them.

Occasionally, she over preens her own chest feathers. It may not even be anything most people would notice, but it's Spike (who wants nothing more in life than to be loved by her) who was baring the brunt of her plucking tendencies!

A sparse crest and bare cheeks are just not that appealing on cute, little Spike!

But for as much change as Tiki and Spike have had to endure in their lifetime (which is estimated to be around 27 years for her and a year or so younger for him) they have not resorted to plucking their own feathers or any other self-destructive behavior.

Spike is a very timid little guy that seems to need to be near Tiki to feel secure.  They met and bonded many years ago in the pet shop.

I've had them both since 1998 so these two special birds have been with us for 11 years and it makes me feel so good that I am able to give them a home where they can stay together.

I'm sure many of you have taken in older birds in need of a loving home; please feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below.

Check out this video of Tiki and Spike!

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Tiki & Spike

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Reader Comments
Great story of the companionship between two parrots. We had a lesser sulpher crested female and male umbrella cockatoo who loved each other too. He used to let her out of her cage and they'd play and preen each other. It was great to watch them. Unfortunately she died two years ago but we all have fond memories of her.
Sunny, Chuburna Puerto Mexico, YT
Posted: 10/5/2009 7:52:47 PM
I too have a rescue Umbrella and he is a lover. Zeus really enjoys the company of other birds. He preen and makes over his friends. He would really like to have another U2 around the house. I know that he'd love to have a girlfriend and do some nesting. Zeus lost his owner a few years ago and was found with her body. Zeus is so sweet that bird people constantly pester me to let them have my boy. There's nothing like a bird that loves you. I know how lucky you are.
Charles, Orlando, FL
Posted: 10/2/2009 8:03:15 PM
A great love story all the way around...thank you for sharing it!
Sandy, Racine, WI
Posted: 10/2/2009 4:41:30 PM
What a great story! If more people knew how social and smart parrots are, and how they are capable of lifetime bonds with other birds and their humans, more people would choose to add birds to their families. Thanks for the article.
David, Buffalo Grove, IL
Posted: 9/29/2009 11:09:53 AM
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