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Old 03-15-2019, 10:51 AM
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Mirrors for Cockatoos?

I'm sure this subject has been kicked to death, and yes I've done some searching on the topic. But thought I'd get some direct feedback.

Unfortunately, my Moluccan cockatoo, Spooky, passed away not so long ago (suspected heart failure). I've cleaned his cage and toys well and likely will have a new cockatoo soon from a bird rescue center.

Spooky was the sweetest and maybe smallest Moluccan ever. He (probably a she actually) LOVED that mirror. The bird was a pretty bad plucker, and would also RUN into the bedroom to look into the mirrored wardrobe doors and climb the surface vertically.

The plucking actually seemed to start after wing trimmings many years ago and we could not stop the behavior. I'm going to work hard with this new bird, as it has very nice feathers.

So I'm not sure if the mirrors adversely effected my last bird in any way. I can tell you that the bird sure did love those mirrors, and loved me too.

I have one small mirror that attaches to the side of the cage, and another that's not as clear, but is a polished stainless steel flat plate attached to a chain with another stainless bell attached (they can be separated).

Trying to figure out if I should leave one or both "mirrors" in the cage, or ditch them. Your thoughts?

Last edited by stockjock; 03-15-2019 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:56 AM
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Mirrors for Cockatoos?

I don't suspect the mirror had any negative effects on your beloved Spooky. Seems bird response is highly individual, so you'll have to carefully observe your new bird. Guess it won't hurt to make it available and assess.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:01 AM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

I cover the one I have at home that is within eye-shot of the cage...I am not sure what she thinks about them (we sometimes look in the bathroom mirror together, but she never has constant access). In some cases I could see it becoming a compulsion, even if a bird knows that it is just a reflection...I'm sorry that wasn't more helpful lol. I just think it is a risk when dealing with flock animals prone to neurotic behaviors and loneliness etc. If a bird loves them, I think it can be a bit problematic though, because then the question is, why? You know what I mean? If they are indifferent towards mirrors, then I see it as less of an issue.


Growing up, we had a parakeet who developed an unhealthy interest in a cage mirror (granted, that was probably our fault for a variety of other issues relating to the amount of stimulation we provided etc).

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Old 03-15-2019, 11:26 AM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

Rocky enjoys admiring himself in the bathroom mirror, but when I tried giving him a mirror of his own, it terrified him. I don't know why. He was abused in his past, and odd things scare him. You can try it, but most of my birds (five species) aren't very into them.
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:15 PM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

Rosetta turns into a different bird when she spots herself in a mirror! She rises up, extends her wings, lifts her hat and BELLOWS (usually right into my left ear). Then, she goes into a sort of ritual posturing where she lowers her head and swings it around under her wings, almost like a dance. I'm sure it's courtship-related, so (since 'Setta is a highly hormonal little bundle of feathers), I try to avoid mirrors where I can. It doesn't help that we have a mirrored cupboard in the laundry. 'Setta usually accompanies me there when I scrub out her swimming pool, water bowl and toys. While I scrub, she bellows at herself. It can get... wearing... We're currently remodelling the laundry and I hope that cupboard will soon be gone!

The only bird I ever knew to do well with a mirror was the budgie up with whom I grew (green, name of Sweetiepie). Sweetie would sit by his mirror for hours, whispering sweet nothing to it and chortling away quietly. He never did anything that seemed unusual or, shall we say 'passionate' and so the mirror never became a problem. Every other bird I've had has either attacked a mirror or gone straight into hormonal overload at it. For that reason, I would never use one. I don't think it's fair to give the bird the illusion of having a 'friend' when they really don't, y'know? I'd rather give them a real friend!
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:37 AM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

I've not had any experience with the Too's at the Rescue and mirrors; that being said, I have always been one to provide all of my Budgies and other parrots with at least one mirror, regardless of the problems people seem to report them causing, it's just not been my experience at all with any bird...Some birds love them, some pay attention to them occasionally, some don't bother with them at all. The only species of parrot I've seen where they all have universally loved their mirror are the Budgie and other Parakeet species like BeeBees and Linnies and Bourkes, and I never had a bit of trouble with them "bonding with the mirror instead of with me" or "becoming hormonally aggressive" due to them like others often report...

I agree with Scott, I highly doubt that the mirror had anything to do with your Moluccan plucking, the wing-clipping seems more plausible, especially if that's about the same time the plucking started, but you never know. I'd do what Scott suggested, provide the new Too with a mirror and see what happens.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:53 AM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

Bianca totally ignores hers. I have one in her cage. In addition I bring her to look at herself in mirrors around the house and she could not be more disinterested. I guess each bird is different.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:38 AM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

I stick away from mirrors in the cage after my step-dad's Kakariki went. Just became obsessed with the mirror to the point he would barely move from the spot, only ever to get food and water and to threaten anyone who came near the cage. Rest of the time he was lent against the mirror in silence
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:24 AM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

Apparently the lesson here is, don't spend a lot of money and effort on a mirror, in case your bird goes bonkers and you have to do away with it.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:52 PM
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Re: Mirrors for Cockatoos?

Quote: Originally Posted by Betrisher View Post
Rosetta turns into a different bird when she spots herself in a mirror! She rises up, extends her wings, lifts her hat and BELLOWS (usually right into my left ear). Then, she goes into a sort of ritual posturing where she lowers her head and swings it around under her wings, almost like a dance. I'm sure it's courtship-related, so (since 'Setta is a highly hormonal little bundle of feathers), I try to avoid mirrors where I can. It doesn't help that we have a mirrored cupboard in the laundry. 'Setta usually accompanies me there when I scrub out her swimming pool, water bowl and toys. While I scrub, she bellows at herself. It can get... wearing... We're currently remodelling the laundry and I hope that cupboard will soon be gone!

The only bird I ever knew to do well with a mirror was the budgie up with whom I grew (green, name of Sweetiepie). Sweetie would sit by his mirror for hours, whispering sweet nothing to it and chortling away quietly. He never did anything that seemed unusual or, shall we say 'passionate' and so the mirror never became a problem. Every other bird I've had has either attacked a mirror or gone straight into hormonal overload at it. For that reason, I would never use one. I don't think it's fair to give the bird the illusion of having a 'friend' when they really don't, y'know? I'd rather give them a real friend!
i thought all birds liked mirrors. i've never known one that didn't. i purchased a 16x12 inch baby crib mirror to attach on the back wall of the cage. it should have the effect of making the space seem larger than it really is - although i certainly wouldn't use it as a substitution for adequate cage size.
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