Bella the Moluccan cockatoo came into my life in July 2006.
I had been looking for a bird for quite a while, and when I finally found a breeder I liked, I ended up on a waiting list for over a year. When she hatched, I was so excited to receive the call that I was officially a bird “mama.”
I visited her twice at the breeders in Molalla, Ore., before taking her home in December 2006. Since then it has been a wonderful and challenging journey as a bird owner.
Bella is very intelligent and demanding, so it is key to make sure I am training her and not the other way around, as she is also very manipulative. Cockatoos are also known for being very neurotic.
Whenever she does something wrong, she tries to make nice by saying her name and waddling up to me for a kiss. She is also a big clown, and cracks me up daily when she chases away cats and people when she barks like my grandpa’s Chihuahua.
She also cock-a-doodle-doos like a rooster and imitates a rubber ducky, which can get very annoying, especially when she repeats it with vigor.
Bella loves to rattle off nonsensical phrases that we call “cockineese”, and she has an evil, almost menacing laugh, which is usually done at the appropriate times. Bella is a fair talker, and she has learned several phrases, including “Pretty Bella,” “Watcha you doing,” “How are you,” “I love you,” “Wanna Kiss,” and “Hi Bella”, the latter of which she can say over and over and over … you get the idea!
Unfortunately, she still has not learned “Go Cougs.”
The positives of owning a parrot far outweigh the negatives for me, but there are some challenges I have encountered. Bella is very messy and I have to clean the cage constantly, as well as be on the lookout for carrots and other food items that she throws from her cage.
She loves to chew furniture and wood, so I am always on my toes when she is out of her “house.” Usually, I can subside her desire to destroy by giving her pages from a phone book to chew on. She can also be very nippy, especially when she feels like she is being left out, and she is very loud, at times to an ear-piercing decibel.
Despite the challenges, I have never once regretted bringing this beautiful creature into my home, and I would never trade Bella for any other pet in the world.
Marilyn Washabaugh, Walla Walla