Mumbles, an Umbrella Cockatoo, joined the Brook-Falls animal ambassador team in August of 2021 when her owner, and long-time Brook-Falls client, passed away. Parrots can make wonderful, talkative pets, that bring laughter everywhere they go. Unfortunately, parrots often outlive their dedicated owners and need a place to go when this happens. Thankfully, the history of being Brook-Falls patients left Lou and her sister Lou with a soft place to land.
Mumbles is a very social bird that loves to be held in order to get the best head scratches. Cockatoos like Mumbles can actually be too friendly with their owners leading to overtly hormonal behaviors. These behaviors can range from nest making, regurgitation (simulates feeding their mate) all the way to laying an egg in the case of a female bird. Hormonal behaviors are often managed through diet, lack of handling by the owner, and extra enrichment toys to keep them busy.
It is important for pet birds to have a healthy balanced diet that can include “people” food like eggs, bread, and veggies. Seeds and nuts are very high in fats and should be only given as treats. Many mass-produced, balanced diets are available in pelleted form for those of us without culinary skills. Birds also require a lot of mental stimulation in the form of enrichment toys and time with their favorite people. Examples of enrichment toys might be wooden blocks for chewing, stacked toys and puzzles to hide treats in, or varying sized perches.