Written By: B.D. Butler - Aug• 12•13

adoptA few weeks ago, I was contacted by my friend Sally.  She said she had a friend of hers that was wanting to find new homes for her cockatoos.  Like many of my friends, they all know that I am kind of the bird guy.  So often when a bird questions or a rehoming situation comes up, they often contact me.  The woman who wanted to rehome the cockatoos is having some scheduling and health issues.  I will commend anyone that will admit when they physically cannot care for their birds anymore, without judgement or ill will.  It takes an amazing person to allow someone to care for the bird that has been a family member for a decade.

westfork fireIn all actuality there were no plans for another bird.  We considered adopting Bella, the little grey foster bird we had, but due to scheduling  and the wildfires, we didn’t do our road trip to my mom’s in Colorado.  Bella was also aggressive towards Dexter and Cooper, which was kind of funny because Cooper is four times her size and we couldn’t have her out of her cage at the same time.  So Bella went back to the rescue and we decided that two birds was good enough.  Isn’t it funny when you make up your mind and fate slaps you right in the face with new opportunities?

solomon islandsThe Solomon Islands Cockatoo, or Ducorp’s Cockatoo is very rare. In fact I had never heard of one until my notification from Facebook that I had a message.  I contacted a couple of friends that have been in aviculture for many many years and had only “heard” of one but never truly seen one in person.  I attempted to get my hands on all of the information on these birds as I could.  However there isn’t a lot of information, and what there is out there, is pretty much recycled.  I did find out some basic information though.   These rare cockatoos are from the northeast Solomon Islands off the coast of Australia, only a small amount are actually exported from the islands and they are difficult to breed in captivity.  Ducorp’s Cockatoos are a little bigger then a Goffin, and are on the quieter side of the Cockatoo family and have the large cockatoo personality in a “smaller” package.  They grow to 12-13 inches and are all white (some have a peach tint), except for the stripes of yellow under their wings and tail feathers.  They also have peach crown under the crest of their head plume feathers.

Sally got me in touch with the owner and we went back and forth, I asked all of the standard questions.  It was green lights with all of them.  I talked to my husband and we made the decision to meet him and then figure out if we wanted him to come live with us.  In any re-homing there has to be a trial, but you have to put your heart and soul into it.  Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, for whatever reason, it’s important to give the bird a chance at a new home and a better quality of life.

We drove a little over an hour, walked in and saw this beautiful bird on her shoulder.  Strangers being in the room created anxiety and caused him to be afraid.  In fact he flew all over the house to get away, but never bit or was aggressive in any way.  That to me was a good sign.  He jumped around and kept saying “hello” and “hi”.  I’m sure it was a nervous response to our being there and a competition with the bare eyed cockatoo that was there, excited to see us.  I thought, I really don’t know a lot about this species of Cockatoo, but there was just something about his personality.  The greys we own are very beautiful and aloof and nothing like the  Cockatoos boisterous  in your face personality, of which I can relate to.  I looked at my husband, he looked at me and after hours of talking about parrot talk,  we said “we’ll take him”.

photo-5We got “Pete” (that’s the name he came with, he was originally a Peaches, but DNA sexing changed that to Pete) into the carrier and into the car, boom we were off.  I made the mistake of turning around and looking at him, he screamed bloody murder.  Which, when you are not used to the Cockatoo scream, can be a bit off-putting.  We got him home, and since the cage he was in originally was old and too big to fit in our car, we set up one of the greys travel cages from our beach cabin.  We arrived home pretty late and it took an hour to get him into the larger travel cages.  When we finally got him in,  it was time for bed.  Everyone was tired, and all of our animals were frazzled from the screeching that seemed to echo for miles.  Greys are loud at times, but they have more of a whistle, beep, or talking vocabulary, nothing like the vocalizations of a cockatoo.

photo-4That night, I lost sleep, in fact a combination of allergies and anxiety kept me up.  I kept thinking, “have I bitten off more than I can chew?”.  Thoughts kept racing through my mind, “I am not an expert trainer”, “I am not that familiar with cockatoos”, “what if I really don’t know what I am doing”.  So I went to the two people who I knew were familiar with the Ducorps’.  Irena Shultz who had worked with Ducorp’s Cockatoos before and Jennifer Phillips who wrote some incredible articles for Parrot Earth and is familiar with the species as well.  Thanks to them and technology of Facebook messaging, I voiced my frustrations and they basically talked me off a ledge.  I decided with them in my back pocket I could do anything.  They sent me links to behavioral information, gave me tips and tricks of the cockatoo mind… and guess what, so far it’s working like a charm.  He’s making amazing progress!  In fact by leaps and bounds, literally.

gryffindorI decided that since I had a past with a couple of “Petes” that wasn’t the best, he needed a new name to go along with his new cage and new life.  We went back and forth, I even opened it up on Facebook for suggestions.  Some people may be asking, how do you change a bird’s name, or any animal for that matter?  Well honestly, both of my greys came with other names.  It’s quite easy, you just add the new name to the old one, as if it were a last name. Call them by it for a few weeks and eventually drop the old last name.  It’s worked like a charm with several other birds/dogs I have owned.  At the suggestion of Jennifer I had a list and called them all out, and he reacted very well to “Gryffin”.  I chose the spelling because of Gryffindor from Harry Potter instead of the standard spelling because I am a bit of a nerd and I will own it!!

So… it’s been six days since Gryffin has been with us, he has been in quarantined in the office and is making remarkable strides.  We began just sitting in the room reading to him and giving him treats when we came in.  Positive association and not forcing him out of his comfort zone.  He is boisterous when out of his cage, but still a bit aloof.  He loves to dance!!  He is coming to me for treats and says “hello” instead of screaming at me, which I am relieved about.  I cannot wait to see what this little guy brings to our family and what amazing things he is capable of.  We will see what happens when we can get him introduced to the entire household.  Fingers crossed it works out and the introductions go well.


Here’s to Gryffin.  I am hoping that the greys love him and he fits into our household.

Copyright 2013 – Parrot Earth – Gryffin




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  1. Charlotte Carlile says:

    Adorable. How I can relate. Lucky Gryffin. And I love the name. Best of luck and I’ll be looking for video soon. <(")

    • B.D. Butler says:

      Thanks Charlotte! I got to pet his head for a couple seconds a little while ago!! That was a huge step!

      • Charlotte Carlile says:

        🙂 after almost a year, we still don’t ‘do’ hands. We get all spastic and bitey so I’m still working on the petting thing. He will sit on my chest and give a hundred beaky kisses, so gentle, but NO HANDS. Good luck with this beautiful bird.

  2. Monica says:

    I was pretty much in the same situation. 10yrs ago I was looking for a bird and found the cutest goffin in a rotting cage and red cloth over it and worms in her food. I took her home. Got her to the vet, got new food and ordered a new cage. The first time I let her out it took me 2 hrs to get her back in the cage. I couldn’t get near her without her going crazy. I only had experience with amazons and macaws. I was stressing about the whole situation but thankfully I found an all parrot store that helped me with her. Cockatoos are special birds and I couldnt imagine my life without my goffin. Good luck with Gryffin.

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