By Diane Burroughs
I’ve got an exceptional Moluccan Cockatoo named Peachy. I got him in 1998 when he was 3 years old. His family had moved and needed to re-home him. The day that we met, I had walked into my hometown bird store to look at a Blue and Gold Macaw and Peachy was out on a bird stand. I looked at him in passing because he was truly a beautiful bird, but the closer I got to him, the more he desperately tried to get my attention – in a good way! He raised his beautiful crest, danced and even said “Whatcha doin’” while waving! I was smitten and had to stop and admire him. But, I was a little scared of such a large bird.
I left the store with a few bird supplies and thought about Peachy, his given name a lot over the next few weeks. But, I had two young children and my husband was interested in the Blue and Gold. I had to be realistic, since I already had a Cockatiel, a Hahn’s Macaw and an African Grey and I’d heard that Cockatoo’s are a handful. Never the less, I couldn’t get Peachy out of my mind.
I began feverishly learning everything I could about Moluccan Cockatoo’s and the information was a little depressing. The literature said that these birds are known for screaming loudly, feather plucking, and having the potential to bite hard enough to take a young child’s finger off. Cockatoo’s in general are often described as being extremely needy and very dusty and messy.
Even so, I couldn’t stay away from the bird store even while I was reading all the precautions on acquiring a Moluccan. I went to visit Peachy every two to three days, with kids in tow for over a month. I became comfortable with handling a large bird and began learning to establish trust despite his large beak. I witnessed Peachy vocalizing loudly on several occasions, but this Moluccan never showed a mean spirit and allowed my children to pet him. We shared a mutual affection. The store workers told me that Peachy lit up like a Christmas tree every time I walked in. I thought so to, but I didn’t know his show of affection was special for me.
Finally on the 10th or 11th visit, I realized that I had made my decision to adopt Peachy so I ordered a large bird cage and purchased extra large bird supplies in preparation to bring Peachy Burroughs home. Peachy is an important member of my family. He’s passed through his toddler years and is now a sexually mature male Cockatoo. And, while I’m sure many have had difficulties with their Cockatoo’s, life with Peachy has been much more rewarding than difficult. Some of this is due to Peachy’s temperament, but a good portion of what makes him a great pet is how I knew what I was getting into when I acquired Peachy and I’ve made a lot of accommodations to insure that he can get his “parrot needs” met in his forever home.
Follow my series on what I’ve done to insure that Peachy is a happy, healthy pet that is fun to be around, despite the distressing reputation that Male Moluccan Cockatoo’s have.