Two cockatiels playing on a red leather couch and grey blanket.

There is No Such Thing as Starter Parrots

There is No Such Thing as Starter Parrots

Benny and Louie, twin male cockatiels, were hatched in our home. They have had macaws overhead looking down on them since day one. They fledged alongside napping macaws. They learned the locations best suited for cockatiels in this flock that day. Stella and Winston, proud parents, imparted every nuance of flock balance into these bodacious boys.

They learned I am for food and conversation. They decided I am a landing zone. They decided Felix is interesting, and Kirby is bossy, and the macaws have little to no interest in them if they simply keep distance. I didn't have much to do with any of that, except to be available for explanations and treats.

Some say the diminutive cockatiel and the smaller varieties of parrot are starter birds. I suppose this has to do with the size of the beak, and the ability to grab a smaller bird quickly without thinking. They are completely wrong.

Benny and Louie have a short fuse of trust. Being small, their options really do boil down to flight. There is no fight. I have to be sincere, slow, and clear in all things I'm bringing to their little table of experience. If you've never been chewed out by an angry cockatiel, count your lucky stars. It's a brutal moment. You end up questioning everything you believe in.

Benny and Louie compensate for their size by personality, opinions, and a higher judgmental attitude about what I think I'm doing.

Butters and Snickers, macaws being two pounds each, tend to have no problem waiting for me to finish what I think is such a good idea. They have more size to allow that negotiation. I can see their body language a mile away. I've always found them easier in the sense of relationship building and negotiations.

Parrot size isn't where the idea of success is defined. Parrot success and all the lifestyle it offers is defined by the actions and sincerity of the human in the room. It's up to us, no matter the mass of the bird, to realize they are all expecting the same exact list of qualities. Empathy, patience, respect, sincerity, and love.

There is no such thing as a starter bird. There is such a thing as a starter human.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Leave a comment

* Required fields