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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I got my new baby tiel :pied: Starly three days ago. She started off normal for her settling in period (typical anxious, quiet, not moving much..) but then a couple hours into her first day, she went buck wild. She is clearly agitated, not sure if she just wants to escape, or is just anxious. Her crest has been not flat, but the normal slightly raised.. she has whistled (or attempted to) a couple times, eating normally.. I've never had a bird eat on the first day of being home! Three days in, and she seems totally normal besides her anxiety spells.

I had my hands in her cage trying to fix a toy, and she actually started to approach me.. I was whispering under my breath "Oh gosh Starly, please don't come up here." because I thought she was coming to bite me. Her crest may have been raised, but she wasn't panicking! She came so close to my hand and was "inspecting" what I was doing to her toy. She's definitely so much different than the other birds I've had. (My budgies still REFUSE to be anywhere near me after almost a year of having them. Very feisty girls lol.)

I know she gets into the anxiety spells, and I was just wondering what I can do to help calm her and start to slowly build a bond with her. Any new tiel owner tips?
 

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Starly

Hi and welcome, Starly! I think you're right - Starly was just wondering what you were doing. If they want to bite, they will come at you with crest flattened down and beak open. You can try offering her bits of millet spray held in your fingers. They love millet and will usually eat from your fingers. That is one way to show her your hand is not dangerous to her. Also just spend time near her cage talking to her. She'll get used to your presence and come to accept you more.
As to fluttering wildly around the cage, it could be that she saw something that scared her. Is her cage near a window? Sometimes another bird, especially a large bird, will spook them. It could just be the new surroundings, too. It's kind of funny, but Bennie freaks out when I sneeze, even though I try to stifle it!
 

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Hi there! This all sounds like normal behaviour for a new cockatiel settling into a new home environment. She should calm down once she feels more comfortable with her surroundings. If she gets really stressed out like you've described, you can try partly covering her cage, this usually helps to calm down their nerves a bit.

Starly sounds like a curious girl which is awesome, so you can start using food bribery with her. There are plenty of threads and articles on the forum about training and bonding with your 'tiel, I will link one of them here.

Best of luck with Starly and don't hesitate to post about any other questions you may have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Hi there! This all sounds like normal behaviour for a new cockatiel settling into a new home environment. She should calm down once she feels more comfortable with her surroundings. If she gets really stressed out like you've described, you can try partly covering her cage, this usually helps to calm down their nerves a bit.

Starly sounds like a curious girl which is awesome, so you can start using food bribery with her. There are plenty of threads and articles on the forum about training and bonding with your 'tiel, I will link one of them here.

Best of luck with Starly and don't hesitate to post about any other questions you may have.
Thank you for the advice! She hasn't even been here a whole week yet, but I realized she reeeaally loves millet.. so I tried holding the millet and putting my hand in the cage. I was confident because she has such a curious and not very anxious personality, and here she comes waddling towards me! She ate, stopped to look at my hand (guess to make sure evil human hand isn't tricking her), then ate some more! I was thrilled. I'm not sure how long I should keep this up for, to lead to stepping up.. but I will keep doing it! She didn't show any signs of biting me or being terrified (or she wouldn't have let me near her).

EDIT: I spoke too soon. I withdrew my hand, put down the millet, went to close her cage back and she lunged at me to bite me. :( I had no warning because her crest was straight up, so it was just a random lunge. I wasn't close enough to get bit, but I still jumped.
 

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Thank you for the advice! She hasn't even been here a whole week yet, but I realized she reeeaally loves millet.. so I tried holding the millet and putting my hand in the cage. I was confident because she has such a curious and not very anxious personality, and here she comes waddling towards me! She ate, stopped to look at my hand (guess to make sure evil human hand isn't tricking her), then ate some more! I was thrilled. I'm not sure how long I should keep this up for, to lead to stepping up.. but I will keep doing it! She didn't show any signs of biting me or being terrified (or she wouldn't have let me near her).

EDIT: I spoke too soon. I withdrew my hand, put down the millet, went to close her cage back and she lunged at me to bite me. :( I had no warning because her crest was straight up, so it was just a random lunge. I wasn't close enough to get bit, but I still jumped.
I wouldn't worry about a couple of lunges, my Cockatiel Lola flys to me when I walk into the room and always wants head scratches (sometimes other stuff but I put her back in the cage when that's the case), even though she's really loving towards me there are certain times she'll still lunge at me and make it like she's going to bite, it's normally if shes tired, doesn't want me to close the cage or I've rubbed her head for 0.5 secs longer than she wants.
I found that keeping very still and letting her make contact has helped, she's never bitten down on my fingers at all, just make it look like she will and when she makes contact she backs off and calms down.
 

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That's really great progress. Keep up the food bribery! :)

Sometimes they can act a bit "all bark and no bite". Sometimes they will lunge and make out like they mean business but won't actually bite. It's pretty common, when this happens with one of my 'tiels I usually just get a soft touch of a beak instead of a bite. They usually do this when they're grumpy, tired, agitated or just having a mood swing. I'm sure once you really get to know Starly you will be able to read her behaviour and tell if she means to bite you or is just doing it for show. My 'tiel Mabel will do this occasionally but it's close on 4 years that she's been with me and I've never ever had a bite from her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's really great progress. Keep up the food bribery! :)

Sometimes they can act a bit "all bark and no bite". Sometimes they will lunge and make out like they mean business but won't actually bite. It's pretty common, when this happens with one of my 'tiels I usually just get a soft touch of a beak instead of a bite. They usually do this when they're grumpy, tired, agitated or just having a mood swing. I'm sure once you really get to know Starly you will be able to read her behaviour and tell if she means to bite you or is just doing it for show. My 'tiel Mabel will do this occasionally but it's close on 4 years that she's been with me and I've never ever had a bite from her.
This was definitely true about little Starly! We have had her out of the cage, on our shoulder, on our hand, and just about everywhere... and she hasn't bitten hard once. She lunges at us everynow and then, but only lays down a few little nibbles and goes back to normal. The only time she has actually had a painful bite, was when she was nibbling on my ring and I put my finger in the way for a moment and she bit down on my finger nail (not malicious). I was like ooooouuuccch, but didn't react. I let her nibble, and she moved on. Things are going swimmingly, and I couldn't be happier. She has started preening me by nibbling on my hair, and lordy does it tickle. Thank you for the great advice.. bribery took her very far very quick!
 

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That's great! 'Tiels also feel their way around with their beak. They use their beak to assist in climbing, stepping up and investigating things. They use it in a similar way we use our hands.

I would love to see a picture of your sweet girl Starly! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's great! 'Tiels also feel their way around with their beak. They use their beak to assist in climbing, stepping up and investigating things. They use it in a similar way we use our hands.

I would love to see a picture of your sweet girl Starly!
She let us pet her today. Gave her little head scratches and she made the sweetest noises. If we stopped but kept our hand close by, she will fling her head down further or tap her beak against the closest surface. It is so precious.

I’ve included a picture of her on my shoulder from a couple days ago. She’s a pretty pearl tiel! Beautiful pattern on her back but she sees my phone and jumps on it for my keychain lol. So I can’t really get good pictures of her at the moment, unless I take off my phone case. She nibbles on it for a loooong time when she gets ahold of it.
 

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