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Old 02-14-2019, 04:18 PM
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RIP Spooky.

First post, long post, and not a very happy one.



I have extremely sad news to report. My cockatoo, who I have owned for about 35 years and who has been perhaps my best friend just passed away a few days ago.

He had been breathing slightly hard and was really breathing hard today and suddenly he started having convulsions and passed pretty quickly. I called the vet but it was too late. I am only thankful that he went quickly and did not seem to be in much pain.

He was the best pet I could ever have. Just a wonderful friend and companion and I will miss him so much.

Rest in peace Spooky you are a wonderful bird.

Here's a message I sent to his vet.

Mentioned that my Moluccan Spooky passed this morning. Won't have any testing done, but wondering if you have an idea what might have led to his demise.

Here's his story.

I got Spooky when I was in my early 20s. I'm now in my mid 50s. I call him "he", but the bird was very small for a Moluccan and was probably a she.

The bird had seizures for years. Maybe 2-3 per year. I'd hear him squawk, unusually, as if in distress and he'd be out of it with the right foot balled up underneath. I'd place him on the carpet and within 5 minutes or so, he'd snap out of it and be fine.

He was a feather picker but not a mutilator. The plucking seemed to get worse towards the end.

The bird was unusually needy towards his later days. Would want to sleep with me in the bed constantly. When I was on the sofa, he'd walk over and just stand there looking at me/us until I picked him up. Then he seemed happy.

His skin seemed to change recently. Bear in mind, many of his feathers were gone. But it seemed to go from soft to rather dry and scaly. Definitely a change in texture.

The sleep patterns also changed. Usually, he'd fall asleep maybe 9 pm or 10 pm and sleep through the night. In the final weeks, he wanted to spend time with me constantly. He'd wake up at midnight, 1 am, 2 am and beyond. He'd call for me to come and get him and then he'd seem happy.

Saturday night, I fell asleep on the sofa maybe 11 pm. Woke up around 1:30 am and he had walked into the bedroom and was staring at himself in the mirror. He loved to look in the mirror, but not at that hour. I picked up up, went to sleep in the bedroom and let him sleep on my shoulder for a few hours and again he seemed happy.

Within the last day or two, I noticed that his breathing seemed labored, but only slightly so. Today, it was much worse.

I Googled some of his symptoms and came upon a page about mites. It said a warm bath could help, so I gave him one. He fought hard, but I tried to calm him down and eventually he did, only the breathing was incredibly labored.

I took him from the bath, wrapped him in a large clean towel and held him like a baby. His breathing got worse.

I put him under the blanket with me and made kissy sounds. He repeated them, but again with difficulty breathing.

He then went into some scary convulsions and jerked his head to the side.

I laid him down, gently, on the carpet outside of his cage. His breathing was so heavy and labored that I figured it was just a matter of time. I pet him and told him what a great bird he was. He passed shortly thereafter.

I thought maybe he had a problem with Teflon, as I sometimes use that (today as well). But I don't use it much, try to keep the temperature low, and he seemed to be having distress before this.

Poor thing, I'll sure miss him. If anyone has any idea as to what was going on, let me know.

The vet did reply and said that he believed Spooky had a bad heart. He said that the birds can live to 70+, but in his experience, that was rare. Usual lifespan based on his observations was about 35-40 and he said that was likely my bird's age. He said that some of his unusual behavior prior to his passing was indicative of a bird sick with heart failure. He said he doubted that did anything wrong, and also doubted that he could have helped or saved the bird. He recommended Green Cheek Conures, or if I insisted on a Cockatoo, go with a Goffin, rose-breasted, or similar, rather than a Moluccan or Umbrella.

Also...

While I miss Spooky to death, I'm likely going to get another bird. Because my Moluccan was so tiny (smallest the bird store had seen), I'm considering maybe a different type of Cockatoo. I'd love to find one that doesn't destroy its feathers, and maybe isn't an insane screamer, but maybe that is too much to ask?

Part of me wants to buy a baby, but then I'm no baby and wouldn't be able to care for it forever. Part of me wants to get a rescue bird, but most of them are really old and have a lot of issues. One offered to me is 35, but that's not a young bird and it might also be bigger than I'm looking for (bare legs too).

I found one Citron cockatoo at a bird store than keeps coming back because it's so loud. It sounds like a shrill (did I mention shrill?) air raid siren, but is otherwise sweet with perfect feathers. 2 owners have returned him, so far. Age unknown, but I don't think too very old. I could actually return him for 2 years (store credit) if it doesn't work out, but my GF has heard him and thinks I'd be crazy to get such a loud and shrill bird.

If anyone has any thoughts, opinions, recommendations, feel free to share.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:40 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Regarding Spooky. Your Vet's guess is a real possibility, but without proper testing it can only be a guess.

Your heart will lead you regarding the future.

Let your next Parrot and yes an older one, choose you.

Very sorry for your loss. Warm Amazon Feather Hugs and Prays. Your Spooky knew s/he was loved and that is truly wonderful.
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Last edited by SailBoat; 02-14-2019 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:42 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Welcome, I am so sorry your first post is of a loss. My deepest condolences for the passing of Spooky.

Birds are masters of deception and attempt to mask illness until the issue becomes acute. Certified avian vets can frequently determine underlying illnesses with a necropsy aka autopsy. I respect your option to refrain from testing. Hard to know if the periodic seizures were a proximate cause, and Teflon typically acts fast.

I respectfully recommend you take time considering another bird. Screaming is typical behavior, and sadly plucking is an even more difficult behavior to manage. Of the "white cockatoos" described, Goffins may be the best candidate for relative independence. Conures are a favorite among our members.

Age is a consideration, do you have family who may wish to inherit a cherished companion? You can write a script advocating for acquisition from the following sources; rescues, individuals, pet shops, breeders, etc. Whatever course you decide, there is wisdom and merit in having the bird "choose" you. I too live in the San Diego area and know there are good supplies of popular species.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:02 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
Regarding Spooky. Your Vet's guess is a real possibility, but without proper testing it can only be a guess.

Your heart will lead you regarding the future.

Let your next Parrot and yes an older one, choose you.

Very sorry for your loss. Warm Amazon Feather Hugs and Prays. Your Spooky knew s/he was loved and that is truly wonderful.

Thanks. It's funny that you mentioned, "let the parrot choose you". When I bought Spooky, it was back in the days where they were mostly imported. I visited an importer who had a massive cage in his garage with maybe 20 cockatoos in it.

I walked up to the cage and all of them flew away, except Spooky. He stayed at the front of the cage like he was checking me out. I liked his attitude and took him.

And talk about attitude! He was a wild bird and it took me a very long time to train him. But eventually, he became a very gentle sweetheart.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:16 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Quote: Originally Posted by stockjock View Post
First post, long post, and not a very happy one.



I have extremely sad news to report. My cockatoo, who I have owned for about 35 years and who has been perhaps my best friend just passed away a few days ago.

He had been breathing slightly hard and was really breathing hard today and suddenly he started having convulsions and passed pretty quickly. I called the vet but it was too late. I am only thankful that he went quickly and did not seem to be in much pain.

He was the best pet I could ever have. Just a wonderful friend and companion and I will miss him so much.

Rest in peace Spooky you are a wonderful bird.

Here's a message I sent to his vet.

Mentioned that my Moluccan Spooky passed this morning. Won't have any testing done, but wondering if you have an idea what might have led to his demise.

Here's his story.

I got Spooky when I was in my early 20s. I'm now in my mid 50s. I call him "he", but the bird was very small for a Moluccan and was probably a she.

The bird had seizures for years. Maybe 2-3 per year. I'd hear him squawk, unusually, as if in distress and he'd be out of it with the right foot balled up underneath. I'd place him on the carpet and within 5 minutes or so, he'd snap out of it and be fine.

He was a feather picker but not a mutilator. The plucking seemed to get worse towards the end.

The bird was unusually needy towards his later days. Would want to sleep with me in the bed constantly. When I was on the sofa, he'd walk over and just stand there looking at me/us until I picked him up. Then he seemed happy.

His skin seemed to change recently. Bear in mind, many of his feathers were gone. But it seemed to go from soft to rather dry and scaly. Definitely a change in texture.

The sleep patterns also changed. Usually, he'd fall asleep maybe 9 pm or 10 pm and sleep through the night. In the final weeks, he wanted to spend time with me constantly. He'd wake up at midnight, 1 am, 2 am and beyond. He'd call for me to come and get him and then he'd seem happy.

Saturday night, I fell asleep on the sofa maybe 11 pm. Woke up around 1:30 am and he had walked into the bedroom and was staring at himself in the mirror. He loved to look in the mirror, but not at that hour. I picked up up, went to sleep in the bedroom and let him sleep on my shoulder for a few hours and again he seemed happy.

Within the last day or two, I noticed that his breathing seemed labored, but only slightly so. Today, it was much worse.

I Googled some of his symptoms and came upon a page about mites. It said a warm bath could help, so I gave him one. He fought hard, but I tried to calm him down and eventually he did, only the breathing was incredibly labored.

I took him from the bath, wrapped him in a large clean towel and held him like a baby. His breathing got worse.

I put him under the blanket with me and made kissy sounds. He repeated them, but again with difficulty breathing.

He then went into some scary convulsions and jerked his head to the side.

I laid him down, gently, on the carpet outside of his cage. His breathing was so heavy and labored that I figured it was just a matter of time. I pet him and told him what a great bird he was. He passed shortly thereafter.

I thought maybe he had a problem with Teflon, as I sometimes use that (today as well). But I don't use it much, try to keep the temperature low, and he seemed to be having distress before this.

Poor thing, I'll sure miss him. If anyone has any idea as to what was going on, let me know.

The vet did reply and said that he believed Spooky had a bad heart. He said that the birds can live to 70+, but in his experience, that was rare. Usual lifespan based on his observations was about 35-40 and he said that was likely my bird's age. He said that some of his unusual behavior prior to his passing was indicative of a bird sick with heart failure. He said he doubted that did anything wrong, and also doubted that he could have helped or saved the bird. He recommended Green Cheek Conures, or if I insisted on a Cockatoo, go with a Goffin, rose-breasted, or similar, rather than a Moluccan or Umbrella.

Also...

While I miss Spooky to death, I'm likely going to get another bird. Because my Moluccan was so tiny (smallest the bird store had seen), I'm considering maybe a different type of Cockatoo. I'd love to find one that doesn't destroy its feathers, and maybe isn't an insane screamer, but maybe that is too much to ask?

Part of me wants to buy a baby, but then I'm no baby and wouldn't be able to care for it forever. Part of me wants to get a rescue bird, but most of them are really old and have a lot of issues. One offered to me is 35, but that's not a young bird and it might also be bigger than I'm looking for (bare legs too).

I found one Citron cockatoo at a bird store than keeps coming back because it's so loud. It sounds like a shrill (did I mention shrill?) air raid siren, but is otherwise sweet with perfect feathers. 2 owners have returned him, so far. Age unknown, but I don't think too very old. I could actually return him for 2 years (store credit) if it doesn't work out, but my GF has heard him and thinks I'd be crazy to get such a loud and shrill bird.

If anyone has any thoughts, opinions, recommendations, feel free to share.

This made me tear up. I am so so sorry. I have an Umbrella Cockatoo, and while she is a nightmare at times, she is my best friend as well. It is clear you loved your bird very much!
I hope things get easier...
Did you have a necroscopy done? I am not trying to be insensitive, but until you know the cause of death, it seems risky to bring another bird home. I say this, in part, because of viruses that can remain active for many months, and even several years in air ducts, carpets, furniture etc.
Personally, I do not ever use anything with Teflon/PTFE/PFOA.

Last edited by noodles123; 02-14-2019 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:24 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

No necropsy done. He died on the weekend, vet was closed and I had to make the call. But he had a good mostly healthy life here, so I'm assuming another bird would have a similar experience.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:40 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Hi, I am so very sorry for your loss!
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:53 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

I am so sorry for your loss of Spooky. My heart goes out to you.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:31 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Our condolences on Spooky;s passing. We know what its like to loose a loved feathered buddy.
We madea contribution to Cornell University's Vet program, in Spooky;s name ,designating it to be used exclusively for parrot related studies and programs. Fly free Spooky, fly high.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:47 PM
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Re: RIP Spooky.

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
Our condolences on Spooky;s passing. We know what its like to loose a loved feathered buddy.
We madea contribution to Cornell University's Vet program, in Spooky;s name ,designating it to be used exclusively for parrot related studies and programs. Fly free Spooky, fly high.
Spooky thanks you.
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