New bird owner problems


New member
Nov 24, 2021
Umbrella cockatoo
Hello all. I am a new bird owner and recently I’ve adopted an umbrella cockatoo. My sister owns a conure herself and I’ve been getting interested in the world of birds and have been thinking about bringing a bird home for about a year now. And his name is Paco and he’s 4 years old. From what I’ve been told, he has no history of being abused or neglected and he is just a typical cockatoo with all his craziness and all. Of course very loud, very messy, very destructive. All of the above that you can find with cockatoos. Bringing him home, I was so excited to start bonding with him and I’ve watched countless videos and done extensive research on how to do just that. Before I get into the problem, I have to add that my sister lives with me and we also live our mom and dad. (I’m 25, she’s 19). Her room is across from mine (just for context.) So when I bring the bird home I was told he was going to be extremely skittish and shy and my sister (having a bird herself) told me that birds are going to take time to adjust basically. And I was prepared for that but 3 months have gone by since I acquired my bird and things are going downhill. He seems to prefer my sister over anyone else in the house. Even when I was the one interacting with him quite a bit and she did too but way less than me. Since she goes to college and I work from home. I’ve been having positive interactions between the bird and I and surprisingly that seems to make it worse that even treats won’t be taken if it’s not my sister giving it. I also should mention that even though he was not this attached to my sister in the very beginning that we brought him home, he seems to be getting closer and closer to her rather than me even though I’m the one doing everything for him and playing with him. Being gentle, calm voice, everything. My sister seems to be falling in love with Paco too which is nice but I just wish Paco would at least prefer me since I’m his caretaker. Whenever I would put him on his stand, he would climb down and walk over to my sisters room instead of mine. Probably knowing that she spends most of her time in there. Or is that just a coincidence that he just likes walking into random rooms? Idk. I’m very paranoid and I’m trying to make progress with him but it’s like he’s scared of me like he was in day one and loving on my sister now. Even laying with her and when I sit on the bed with them, he would walk towards her and away from me.
:( I really don’t like this and it makes me feel kind of bad but at the same time a bit guilty because after all, this is a bird I’m getting frustrated with which is weird. Is this normal? Do birds prefer someone even if it is not the owner? Any tips to work with him? He fell for her and I sound kind of crazy rn lol. But I would appreciate any advice or input on the situation.


Well-known member
Sep 17, 2021
Minnesota, USA
Eclectus Parrot: Nico (male)
Jenday Conure: Kiwi (female)
Hi there, and welcome! This is a VERY common issue with birds. Some of them for whatever reason become one person birds, and do not want anything to do with anyone else. I have a conure who adores my husband, and will fly from me to him. I can handle our conure, and she will snuggle with me. She just prefers my husband over me. We also have another parrot who picked me, and wants nothing to do with my husband. He will chase after me screaming if I walk away, and try to leave him with my husband. It can be frustrating. I started to have my husband do more cares for my parrot to see if he'll be more accepting of my husband, or at least tolerate. I just started this so I'm unsure of the outcome. .


Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome Melissa and Paco, your dilemma quite common. First month or two is "honeymoon" period of adjustment with parrot assessing new environment. For reasons we cannot understand, birds may bond with seemingly random persons despite your intent, dutiful care, and love.

Please don't feel guilty as you cannot reason with three year old cockatoo intelligence and emotions! There are techniques to improve trust and build a closer bond:


Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Yeah, very common. THe person who buys the parrot and is the primary caretaker and loves the parrot and the parrot attaches itself to someone else in the household, often someoone who could care less or even dislike parrots. You can influence them, but it takes time and patience, like Job-ian patience. Jut try to make all your interactions with him be positive ones.


Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
Full house
I feel your pain and disappointment. I live alone so I have to work the other way to make my birds be nice and get along with visitors . Tho one of mine fell for my mom the first time she saw her . My mom is afraid of burds and not that interested, but my Penny probably would have wanted to go home with her on the spot.

As others have mentioned, we do hear variations on your story all the time. It isn't anything you've done or that your sister has done. But still it never feels fair. NOODLES has a cockatoo that loves her dad, but he doesn't live with them. I haven't seen her active later, but I will message her.

Big hugs to you, and I hope your bind deepens.

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