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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently adopted a 20+ year-old Cockatiel from a family who can no longer care for it (3 days ago). For its entire life, there has been a mirror in the cage. The bird is very obsessed with the mirror and somewhat possessive of it. It was in a small cage, so we upgraded it to a larger cage. I did not put the mirror in the new cage to see how things went. The bird has been making what sounds to me like distress calls and seems pretty unsettled. After a few hours, I ended up putting the mirror back in the cage. The bird immediately settled down and stopped calling.

The previous owner said the bird was very social with them. At this point, the bird is not a fan of us and hisses/lunges at us if we get close. I have been feeding it treats from outside the cage, and will slowly try to gain some trust. My concern is what to do about the mirror. It doesn't seem to be healthy (it stares at it all the time), but I also don't want to stress it out. Brought to a new home with new people and a new cage is a lot of stress for an old bird.

Is it reasonable to keep the mirror in for now and try to slowly take it out once he gets used to us and his new surroundings? We have a budgie who we will likely have in the same room as the cockatiel at some point.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a mirror in Rodans cage. She is happy to play with it and look at the beautiful bird. Why do you obsess with something a 20 year old has had all its life? Owner problem.
The bird stands in the corner of the cage staring at the mirror all day, and does nothing else. It also becomes very defensive when it is around the mirror. I have no doubt that the mirror has to go. I am just not sure if I should cold turkey it or be more gradual.
 

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A 20 year old. In a new home. Cannot find the owner it has bonded with for so many years. You wish to remove something that may be providing some sort of relief. I’m glad you’re not my owner. Why not try bonding with conversation. My Rodan loves to be talked to. Listens intently, responds with the smallest of happy chirps. How much time do you spend with him? Are you not aware of the trauma when these birds cannot find their bonded companion?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A 20 year old. In a new home. Cannot find the owner it has bonded with for so many years. You wish to remove something that may be providing some sort of relief. I’m glad you’re not my owner. Why not try bonding with conversation. My Rodan loves to be talked to. Listens intently, responds with the smallest of happy chirps. How much time do you spend with him? Are you not aware of the trauma when these birds cannot find their bonded companion?
Not sure what the attitude is about. I am also glad I am not your owner.

I rescued a 20-year-old cockatiel, and I don't have a lot of experience with birds (I have a rescue Budgie for about 1 year). Everything I read and all the "bird experts" I have spoken to say mirrors are really bad and that I should pull the mirror immediately. I am very concerned that the bird is in a new place, with new people, and that pulling the mirror away could be very traumatic. Hence I am asking for advice.

If you think that is being a bad owner????? I am glad your bird does well with the mirror. This one appears not to do well with the mirror. I don't wish to remove the mirror, I wish to do what is going to be the best for this bird in the long term. I am not sure what that is. I have been on several forums asking about this, and you are the first person who hasn't told me to pull the mirror. He is also in a very small cage. I haven't had him a week yet and I have purchased him a much larger cage. However, I have not moved him to the new cage because I am concerned about introducing too much change all at once.
 

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Not sure what the attitude is about. I am also glad I am not your owner.

I rescued a 20-year-old cockatiel, and I don't have a lot of experience with birds (I have a rescue Budgie for about 1 year). Everything I read and all the "bird experts" I have spoken to say mirrors are really bad and that I should pull the mirror immediately. I am very concerned that the bird is in a new place, with new people, and that pulling the mirror away could be very traumatic. Hence I am asking for advice.

If you think that is being a bad owner????? I am glad your bird does well with the mirror. This one appears not to do well with the mirror. I don't wish to remove the mirror, I wish to do what is going to be the best for this bird in the long term. I am not sure what that is. I have been on several forums asking about this, and you are the first person who hasn't told me to pull the mirror. He is also in a very small cage. I haven't had him a week yet and I have purchased him a much larger cage. However, I have not moved him to the new cage because I am concerned about introducing too much change all at once.

If we talk about it from the perspective of the cockatiel in question then sudden changes can psychologically hurt tiels. Younger Tiels can take up to a month or two before getting mildly comfortable with their owners, in this case you are talking about a Mature bird who has found comfort in a mirror. If you have rescued this cockatiel then you need to think about what this tiel has done for itself to keep itself calm, collected and entertained by itself. These birds are not simple birds, they are incredibly smart and they love routine.

Your aim is to ensure that it is calm and content until it is used to you which could take a very long time, regardless of what you want it to do. If ANYONE gets a Tiel purely for the purpose of deep intimate companionship then you need to get them young and work with them. Mature Tiels who have been in their own routine for an extended period of time out of neglect will likely not change their habits.

Just love your Tiel, Sit next to them and talk or read books and let them know your struggles too.
 

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Spot on mate. If this little guy is becoming defensive when he is at his mirror toy, then that should tell you something. The Tiel doesn’t know he’s been “rescued” as the original poster so confidently boasts. He only knows that things are really different now! Better consult the mirror! The learning curve of a Tiel is measured in months. The point of obsessive behavior becomes moot. I’m alway amazed when owners try to project the human condition into the Avian world. Bird Beak Pet supply Drink Bird supply
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Spot on mate. If this little guy is becoming defensive when he is at his mirror toy, then that should tell you something. The Tiel doesn’t know he’s been “rescued” as the original poster so confidently boasts. He only knows that things are really different now! Better consult the mirror! The learning curve of a Tiel is measured in months. The point of obsessive behavior becomes moot. I’m alway amazed when owners try to project the human condition into the Avian world. View attachment 96329 View attachment 96330 View attachment 96331 View attachment 96332
Spot on mate. If this little guy is becoming defensive when he is at his mirror toy, then that should tell you something. The Tiel doesn’t know he’s been “rescued” as the original poster so confidently boasts. He only knows that things are really different now! Better consult the mirror! The learning curve of a Tiel is measured in months. The point of obsessive behavior becomes moot. I’m alway amazed when owners try to project the human condition into the Avian world. View attachment 96329 View attachment 96330 View attachment 96331 View attachment 96332
Funny how she seems to understand when I talk to him. She is wise beyond her years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the responses. My intuition was telling me exactly what you are saying. I have had numerous people on other forums tell me to pull the mirror and move to the new cage immediately. This seemed pretty harsh given the fact that this is a 20+-year-old bird, who isn't really fond of us yet, and is used to having a mirror. I am fine with letting it live the rest of its life with the mirror if that is the best option. I will give it some time and see how things go.
 

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Talk to him quietly. Interact with him during mealtimes. Invite him to eat with you. I think you will see the results you are looking for. You may hit on the routine that he was used to with the previous owners. Or better yet if possible contact the people and ask them what was their daily routine.
 

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Not sure what the attitude is about. I am also glad I am not your owner.
I feel like some people are just trying too hard to justify their possession of another living being. All these animals are literally bred and sold for profit because some humans like the idea of having a pet, a word that in itself implies entertainment value. Cockatiels wouldn't even be outside of Australia and maybe Oceania if everything was up to them, and yet here we are discussing ways to treat the one or two birds we have with respect instead of rethinking the reason the pet industry exists to begin with and our role in keeping it alive. Personally, I'm also interested in knowing how many bird owners eat chicken and think absolutely nothing of it.

Regarding your comment about how everybody says a mirror in a cage is a bad idea, I have come to the conclusion that nobody actually knows anything. I was googling everything my new bird did that I'd never seen before, and everyone on the internet would offer five different possibilities of what it meant and some of them were contradicting each other. It was like getting a tarot reading and choosing your own adventures depending on how you want to perceive your personal success as a pet owner. I've even become skeptical of the almost universally accepted belief that beak grinding means happiness, because I think my bird just does it when she's bored. To sum up: always take what the "experts" say with a grain of salt. And from one inexperienced owner to another, give yourself permission to make mistakes. Worst-case scenario, it's not an actual human baby that'll land you on the evening news or anything.
 

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Not sure what the attitude is about. I am also glad I am not your owner.

I rescued a 20-year-old cockatiel, and I don't have a lot of experience with birds (I have a rescue Budgie for about 1 year). Everything I read and all the "bird experts" I have spoken to say mirrors are really bad and that I should pull the mirror immediately. I am very concerned that the bird is in a new place, with new people, and that pulling the mirror away could be very traumatic. Hence I am asking for advice.

If you think that is being a bad owner????? I am glad your bird does well with the mirror. This one appears not to do well with the mirror. I don't wish to remove the mirror, I wish to do what is going to be the best for this bird in the long term. I am not sure what that is. I have been on several forums asking about this, and you are the first person who hasn't told me to pull the mirror. He is also in a very small cage. I haven't had him a week yet and I have purchased him a much larger cage. However, I have not moved him to the new cage because I am concerned about introducing too much change all at once.
If the bird is 20 then I would not remove the mirror. A young bird yes but obviously this bird is used to it so what harm? It's a new environment already so a further stress doesn't seem a good idea.
 
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