Clyde, our clinic bird, was hatched on March 15, 1995. He is the son of Cricket and Peanut. His dad, Peanut, was hatched in March of 1993 and is still going strong! Clyde was hand-raised by Louise Downing and gifted to Lynwood Animal Hospital after he was weaned at 8 weeks of age. Clyde still recognizes and loves his first human “mom”. He will greet her and Peanut loudly then sing for them and beg for a head scratch when they come in.
His speech is somewhat difficult to understand but unmistakable once you hear it. When we open in the morning, a little cockatiel voice will call out “Hi Clyde!” from behind his cover. His greeting can get quite loud if there is a delay in removing his cover. He says “Bye Clyde!” when he is covered in the evening and he also asks “Whatcha doing?” occasionally during the day. When he was young, Clyde was taught to whistle the “Andy Griffith” theme song and can still make his way through a passable rendition!
There is a chance that you may not see Clyde when you come to visit. He loves to spend time rummaging on the bottom of his cage. We place foraging toys and bits of food down there for him to explore. We call the bottom of his cage “Clyde’s basement” or his “man cave”. When he is busy down there, disturbing him will often be rewarded with an annoyed squawk and an irritated stare. He is quite secretive when going about his bird business!
But what if he is not in his basement? Clyde often goes to the treatment area to have a shower or a snack and he occasionally visits with hospitalized birds. Clyde will sing the most beautiful love songs if another cockatiel is in the hospital. He also likes to supervise staff while they work and will keep up a running commentary from his shoulder perch.
Clyde is a cockatiel, which are the smallest members of the Cockatoo (Cacatuidae) family. Cockatiels are native to the outback regions of inland Australia, and favour the Australian wetlands, scrublands and bush lands.
Clyde’s colouring is “normal grey” which is the usual colouration of wild cockatiels. We know Clyde is a boy because cockatiels are sexually dimorphic. This means there are visible differences – in this case, colouring – between the male and female of the species. In a cockatiel, the colour changes are only evident after the first moulting, typically occurring about six to nine months after hatching. The male loses the white or yellow barring and spots on the underside of his tail feathers and wings. Bright yellow feathers replace the grey feathers on the cheeks and crest, while the orange cheek patch becomes brighter and more distinct. The face and crest of the female will typically remain mostly grey, though also with a slightly duller orange cheek patch. Additionally, the female commonly retains the horizontal barring on the underside of her tail feathers.