Owning a cockatiel

By Emma Bessinger, Reporter

In September of 2019, I bought a cockatiel. I wouldn’t go back on that $200.00 purchase for anything, as Yoshi is now the best pet I have ever owned, but I wish I knew what I was getting into that day.



Birds have fragile stomachs, and cockatiels have foods they cannot eat, including caffeine, tomatoes, chocolate, onions, garlic, fruit seeds, honey, salt, alcohol, uncooked beans, or mushrooms. Looking at this list you’ll realize you eat most of those foods on a daily basis. That was a big step for me, to eat those foods away from her so she didn’t sneak a bite.


Cooking/ sprays/smoke

Along the lines of a sensitive stomach, birds also have very fragile lungs. Any aerosols or perfumes are a no go in my room because of Yoshi. Instead, I take them to the bathroom to apply them. 

Now you may think it’s acceptable to have your bird in the kitchen while making a meal, but most pans are coated with Teflon, which when heated creates a gas toxic to birds. The gas fills their lungs, and they suffocate. To combat this. Yoshi is in my room when cooking, but can come down before or after.

Smoking or any kind of smoke does the same as Teflon, I have incense that later had to be thrown away when I learned its effects. No bonfires, no smoke nothing of that sort is allowed near her.

In the end, just treat a bird as a vert asthmatic person.



Yoshi will chew anything she can get her beak on textbooks, papers, hair ties, phone cases, your face, you name it she’ll chew it. Besides the inconvenience of never being able to find a whole hair tie, it shouldn’t bother anyone. You just have to baby-proof the area that the bird lives in.

Biting on the other hand… Cockatiels have moods just like us, and when she doesn’t want attention, she makes it known in a painful way. If a bird wants its space, give it to them, because in the end, it hurts you more than the bird.


Talking/ singing

The best part of owning a bird, besides the cuddles, is the noises they make. Yoshi, as of now can say/sing

  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • Hi Yoshi
  • Part of the Indiana Jones theme song
  • Whatcha doin’
  • Yoshi Yoshi Yoshii
  • Wee woo wee woo emergency
  • Hi baby
  • Kissing sounds
  • Random uninterpretable squawks


Now some things you don’t want your bird to say, but like children, they don’t care what you want. My mother taught the bird to say “let me out” I do not appreciate this. There are other things she picked up from either tv shows or videos, that are outrageous, not cursing bad but… Just weird



Yoshi dances when she feels like it, and when she likes the music that’s playing, mostly rock music but still. She will bop her head up and down like someone headbanging at a rave, or she will move side to side. It’s honestly the cutest thing.



Birds want attention at the worst times. When working, cleaning, or trying to watch something there she is. Biting the laptop, phone, my face, on my hands or shoulders begging for scritches/ pets. You just gotta work through it, or if it gets too bad put her in her cage.



Tearing stuff up, pooping, throwing her food all over the room, flinging water.  Yoshi is a master of mess. But no harsh chemicals can be used, everything has to be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, water, or Clorox wipes. Dealing with the messes is hard but, she’s worth it.



Birds are like very asthmatic toddlers without arms, who can speak.