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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
I'm about to become a first time tiel owner, and I have a few concerns.
I've heard a lot about the things that can potentially frighten a tiel, and the one that most bothers me is that the sight and sound of wild birds can cause them to freak out, and I'm particularly worried about night frights.

My problem is that the building I live in is literally surrounded by a nature reserve. It's full of all kinds of wildlife, birds included. The windows of the two rooms that the cage will be in (the lounge room and my bedroom/study) overlook nothing but the back yard and solid bushland.

There are a trio of Magpies who live in the huge Eucalyptus trees across the road from my house who call to each other very late at night (it's common to hear them between midnight and 5am), and they're a very visible presence from the window.
There are also several bushes right in front of my window that attract Wattle Birds, and there's also fact that at sundown every night like clockwork, Kookaburras (and I do mean many Kookaburras) call so loudly that people can hear it on the phone, even when the doors and windows are closed.

So basically, I'm very concerned that seeing the large birds like the Magpies and the Wattle Birds (not to mention my cat when he jumps up on my windowsill to say hello, or the dogs, when they look in the window wanting attention), and hearing the Magpies at night and the Kookaburras in the evening will really upset my little friend, and induce screaming or panic.

Is there anything I can do (apart from lowering the blinds when the large birds/cat/dogs are out and about) to stop any panicking? I have an aquarium light that should provide enough light to help with night frights, but I don't know if the Magpies might make them freak out anyway when they decide to sing in the wee hours.
 

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I think you'll find that your tiel will get used to your house along with the sights and sounds. :) Bird sounds never both my birdies, they look around to see who's talking. :p Lots of people have dogs/cats and birds in the same household, so it's definitely possible to socialize them well enough that they don't frighten each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, the dogs and the cat don't live in the same actual building as me (until the end of the year, I'm living in a small house on my parents' property), so I'm not too worried about them.
I'm sure the birdie will get a few shocks from my rats, who are teenage brothers and like to blow off steam play fighting and screeching at each other, but if anything a bird will worry them and not the other way around.

It's good to know that they can get used to it, I've heard so many horror stories about tiels panicking about the slightest thing. I might try turning on the TV or some music when the Kookaburras get rowdy, they really are very loud and tend to cackle at each other for a good half our every day.
 

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first off welcome to the forum i no others will tell you we love pics so when you get the darling we would love to see pics

when i first got my first bird it was not to long before stretch started mimicking the birds i use a night light in the bird room some noises will bother them but you will learn along the way any questions we will try and answer
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much!

I'm expecting photos of the new arrival soon (He/she is already going by the name of Harlow). The breeder has several chicks that are almost weaned, and she's spending the time from now until they're ready to be homed selecting the one whose personality best suits me. I'm not sure what mutation or gender I'm getting, but I should know in a week or two, and be flying Harlow over within the month.

I don't mind if Harlow picks up the magpie calls, but I'm in trouble if it's the Kookaburras, the phone, or the squeaks my rats make! I had enough time at my last house distinguishing between my cat's squeaky meow and my squeaky bedroom door.

I'll definitely ask if I have any more questions, I've been reading through the posts here and browsing various sites to get as informed as I can, so I'll try to limit the posts to things that are specific to my situation. I've found the answers to 99% of my questions here already.


I'm currently distracting myself from the wait by designing a home-made play gym that incorporates a bath, little treat puzzles, perches and a big foraging box, made from branches from the wattle brushes, bottlebrushes, eucalyptuses and banksias in my yard. I'm a big fan or recreating natural environments, so it's a fun challange.
 

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I would cover Harlows cage at night aswell that way he will feel safer and may not notice any movements in the room or outside the window that might scare him. That playstand you are making sounds great. Iam sure you already checked the woods on the bird safe list. I would also make sure you clean them really well and dry them in the oven on low for around 10 mins if possible. If you can post photos of your playstand when you are done I would love to see it and Harlow of course :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've been over the lists of safe everything, pretty much, and I feel confident that everything will be fine. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where pretty much everything is a safe native plant, and I'm definitely going to wash, sand (if needed) and bake the wood to make sure everything is fine.

I've drawn up some plans and right now, it's all very exciting for me. I'm trying to work out what kind of substrate I can use to make a box for Harlow to be able to scratch and dig in, and pick out seeds and so forth.
 

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I use aspen chips in mine. Paper is such a hassel and just gets moved around too much. I don't cover my birds. I think it's more comforting if they CAN see what's going on. Also Definitely use a nightlight. I use two. I don't have problems with night frights.
 

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The wild birds won't harm him. We live on a hundred acres of bush and a few pf our resident flocks include magpies, kookaburras (two separate families), king parrots, rosellas, lorikeets, bower birds the list goes on. Echo has no problem with them, he quite enjoys yelling back at them, and if he's being too loud he goes in a cage outside where he can yell to his hearts content without damaging our ear drums. Its our fault though hearing all the birds means he has far too many flock calls to choose from when he wants to make noise LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Would non-toxic hypo-allergenic cellulose paper pellets with no additives or chemicals (such as breeder's choice) be okay? My rats love digging through them for food because they make noise and are messy, and since I already have it in bulk and it's easily cleaned up, it thought it might be a good thing to work with.
I'm not going to use it in the cage, but I was thinking it might work well for the digging box if it's safe.

I don't want to cover the cage entirely at any stage, so I'm going to make a cover that can go on the front or back of the cage. That way anything that upsets Harlow can be hidden during the day while still letting light in the sides and front of the cage, and I can cover the front of the cage at night so the night light isn't too powerful, but there's still light from the sides and back. I hope that makes sense.


I also have a question about safe plants:
From what I can tell, a stripped-down, washed, baked and sanded branch of Eucalyptus is fine, as long as there aren't flowers or leaves. Is this correct?
Also, are dried Banksia flowers and branches okay?

I'd like to make use of as many native plants as I can when making the play station for Harlow, and I haven't seen some of the natives I'm considering listed as safe or unsafe. I've heard a lot of people say they use eucalyptus, but I've also read that the leaves and flowers can be unsafe, and the information is a bit confusing.

Thanks for all of your help and your welcomes, I really appreciate it.


Edit: I've just spoken to the breeder, and she's going to be sending me a photo either tonight or tomorrow. I'm even more excited now!
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum... I had the same fears you have with getting a tiel. I had read all the horror stories of night frights and such. It kept me from getting a tiel years ago. A couple months ago I just decided I wanted one and would take my chances. Tiki was a year old when I got him. Will soon be 15 months old. I haven't had any problems at all with him getting scared. I even work nites, comming home at 3 AM.... I was worried about the nite frights when I would come home with my 2 dogs barking and carrying on, playing with toys, getting fed and so on. But all has gone very well. I don't cover his cage and have a nite light on for him. He wakes up when I come home, but doesn't make a sound. Because I am a night person, I have started covering the front of his cage as I have the TV going until the early morning hours on wk ends. He is so good, since I have to sleep late in the morning, he stays quiet until I get up.
 

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Washed eucalyptus branches WITH leaves and flowers are fine. My guys love chewing eucalyptus leaves. :D And leave the bark on too because that's good fun for them to strip off themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's great to know I'm not the only one who has been a bit scared by all the horror stories. There seem to be an awful lot out there, I kind of forgot to realise that they were the minority, and the majority of tiel owners have great experiences and not too many problems.

I'm relieved that eucalyptus is okay, we have so many small branches falling down from the strong winds every night around here that it would be a shame to not put them to use, they look and smell beautiful.

No word from the breeder yet, but I'm sure she's pretty busy with her family and all her birds.
 

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I do cover my bird at night. He came from a breeder who didn't cover any of his birds but I thought it would be an important ritual for the morning and evening, particularly because if you repeat the same phrases day in and day out like "Morning," or "Night-night," your tiel might learn to say those phrases. So I began covering Cheeko at night. The one night I didn't do it, he had a night fright. He had gotten used to the security of the blanket and someone set off a firecracker at 3 AM and really scared my bird! It might've scared him into a night fright anyway, but I learned an important lesson:whatever you do, make sure it's consistent. Getting a bird is like getting a new baby and babies love routine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's really good advice, I'll definitely need to get a routine going.
I always say "Hi guys, mummy missed you" to my rats when I get home, "Bye, boys, be good" when I leave, and "'Night 'night, I love you" every night before bed. I'll be doing something similar for Harlow.
His breeder is fairly sure he is a he, and he is a Whiteface platinum. He's a bit of a chatterbox, I could hear him whistling away the whole time I was on the phone, begging to be fed. I can't wait for the photos. I should be getting him late next week, I believe.
 

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Welcome Rouille. Everyone here is so very helpful. I think there is no problem they can't help solve. It's a great support group here. I wish I had Eculyptus here. I lived in California and there were Eculyptus and a Pepper Tree over the parking lot where I worked. The seeds would fall and driving over them the smell was heavenly.

I like to sleep with my TV on. I cover my birds but leave a gap toward the tv side. The TV is our night light. Haven't had a night flight since I leave the gap. I have 3 cats that ignore the birds and 2 dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, Birdie :)

I'm actually glad you mentioned that - I sleep with my TV on every single night too, and I was worried that the flickering light might upset Harlow. I do have several aquarium lights that I could use as night lights, but if it works for you, I'll definitely try Harl with the TV as a night light first.

Speaking of Harlow, here's a link to my first photos of him from his breeder: http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?p=44179
 
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