Socializing Parrots: Bondi and Theo

Before we left two years ago Theo the goffin cockatoo was getting poofy as big as she could and walking hurriedly after my cockatoos Bondi and Bandit who are rose breasted cockatoos. Now Bondi is a small goffins cockatoo, so it’s not like her size is intimidating…


But because my birds are fully flighted they find it easier to fly away than risk getting hurt in any way and I can’t seem to convince them that Theo is in fact, bluffing.


Because I socialized Cressi (congo african grey) and Bondi, I thought, why not socialize Bondi and Theo? They are of the same size for the most part, and both females. They have nice personalities, though Bondi is a bit more easy going about things than Theo but Theo is definitely learning.


Theo, by the way, was thought to be a boy from her first owners if you couldn’t tell…


Anyway, the first few days back I decided to just watch the interaction between Theo and my birds. Theo would intimidate Bondi and Bandit to fly away, but Cressi would intimidate Theo to fly away. It was an interesting array of flights to watch take place.


While having all 4 smaller birds out and flying around (all of which are fully flighted) I watched more of their interaction. As Theo approached Bondi to intimidate her on the railing, I put my hand up to intervene and save Bondi the trouble of having to fly away.


Theo stopped where my hand was, using it as a border and Bondi felt safe enough with my hand there not to fly away.


Here is the video of how that went:



Obviously I wasn’t socializing in the best of circumstances – I had a lot of distractions from other birds.


A little while later though… both Bondi and Theo ended up on my lap for some cuddles. Theo was more interested in Bondi whereas Bondi had no interest in being close to Theo at the time. But again, I placed my hand up as a barrier and both liked the idea of having it. Theo tried pushing the boundaries and Bondi really wanted the boundaries left intact.


I decided that if Theo’s face was facing away (in other words, beak = away) then I’d let Theo get close to Bondi, that way Bondi didn’t feel threatened in any way as Theo’s position was actually showing trust and vulnerability. Bondi would lightly touch Theo a bit and see what would make her move. I watched and judged by watching their body language not only with each other but with me on how far I’d let each one go.


Here’s how that looked:



They eventually got to the point of sweetly just beginning to preen one another. Then I thought I’d end while things were on a high note for them both and offer space to both of them.


Since then, Theo doesn’t try to intimidate Bondi. Instead of going towards her all puffed up on the railing, Theo actually walked in the opposite direction to do her own thing.


Socializing the two of them has made Theo feel less like she has to show who’s boss and prove that she’s unafraid and it’s doing wonders for their relationships around the house.


Honestly, if they weren’t both fully flighted, this story wouldn’t be as sweet sounding… in the least.

1 comment

M Marie Nicholson

I would like to ask a question, I don’t belong to facebook, I have Herbie a Congo African Grey. He is a fantastic 3-1/2 year old. He has a fantastic and large vocabulary which he has picked up mostly by himself. He is my only bird. I recently moved into an assisted living facility and I walk a lot with him inside and out, sometims he walks at my feet (He flies well but cannot get lift.) he is clipped. While he chatters a lot in my apartment with only me present he will not talk so that others can hear him, he will not talk on my arm, he will not eat a treat away from his cage so I cannot use a treat to train him. He will ignore his favorite foods away from his cage.How can I train Herbie to say “Hello, or My name is Herbie” and such when people come up to talk to him. He begs me to go for a walk and if I say later after a few minutes he says “I take grandma for a walk” or sometimes “Herbie take grandma for a walk” Presently he is the only bird in the facility and people just adore him, AND he likes the attention he just will not speak to them. I have a large back pack made for him that he rides in and goes with me when I go for a 2 or 3 mile walk. I would like for him to talk to me while we walk, he will not. Can you or your group help me teach him to speak when spoken to.??

M Marie Nicholson

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published