I adopted Taylor very unexpectedly in October of 2007.  My first cockatiel, Romeo, had recently passed away and I was content with just Erin.  To be honest, I was a little hesitant to own another bird and I was questioning my own bird ownership skills.  However, on another trip to the pet store I met another baby that made my heart melt.

Taylor won me over in two ways.  One, he was handicapped, and I now had a special place in my heart for handicapped birds.  And two, he was a white face, which happens to be my absolute favorite cockatiel mutation.  

Taylor was the youngest and last baby from a set of parents that had bred too many times on an improper diet.  Taylor’s feet were only slightly turned in when I got him, but as he grew so did his problems.  

Shortly after bringing him home, Taylor began to break a lot of blood feathers.  He was prone to night frights as a young bird and took a long time to adjust to his new home.  He seemed prone to getting chills and sicknesses far more than the other birds.  He spent much of his time in a hospital box being monitored on a heating mat or going to different vets.  

In 2011, Taylor began having difficulties with his crop.  He frequently looked swollen or enlarged and he began throwing up if his chest hit against anything.  I desperately tried taking him to vets trying to find a solution to his problem.  One vet diagnosed him with a malfunction, where his muscles cannot push the food through the crop fast enough and close off the crop from bacteria, which results in chronic yeast infections.  Taylor was treated twice for yeast in his crop and was then placed on a maintenance drug to help his muscles move better.  Unfortunately, it had little affect on Taylor’s crop issues, and later when I began interning at the Aviary, I discovered that the drug they had prescribed him could potentially kill him and was not at all suited for a maintenance drug for a bird.  A dog, yes, but not a bird.  I immediately pulled Taylor off the drug.

Currently, Taylor is still having crop problems.  That’s the problem with living in Pittsburgh.  There are no actual avian veterinarians in Pittsburgh.   Everyone who says they see birds does not actually know what they are doing.  So, the aviary recommended me to a vet who worked for them before and I am currently waiting the check from selling college books back to come in so that I can schedule an appointment with him in Morgantown, West Virginia.  At this current date, I have probably spent about $500 on medical care for Taylor that has resulted in nothing.  If you are going to take your bird to a vet, please please please be sure they are actual avian vets and do not just see birds.  Many of the vets I went and saw have claimed to be avian vets but were not at all what I needed with a special needs bird.

Taylor in a hospital box

Despite Taylor’s medical problems, he is a very happy, loving boy.  He is somewhat envious of the other birds and attempts to bully them when they are out of their cages, but he adores people.  In fact, I feel that he would be extremely happy as an only child, but with his everlasting medical problems, I couldn’t ever place him in another home, nor do I think I could actually part with him.  He’s certainly not the brightest cockatiel, as any type of training with him takes at least twice as long for him to grasp, but his sweet demeanor definitely makes up for it.  He’s always one of the first birds to begin greeting you when you walk through the door, and he loves giving you kisses.  

Taylor is a male white-faced cockatiel.  Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are found in Australia.  The White face mutation is the abstinence of yellow from a cockatiel color.  So, everywhere a normal grey would be yellow, Taylor is white.  White face’s are a recessive gene.  We know Taylor is a male because of the beautiful white face he has.  Females might get a dusty light mask, but never get the stunning clean white face a male has.  We also know Taylor is a male because he loves to sing and whistle!  White face males gain their white face after their first large molt.

I have learned so much through Taylor, from nursing care and treatments, to nutrition.  He has forced me to do so much research that I have grown through owning Taylor.  I accredit him to much of my desire to become a vet; when no one else can cure your pet, it drives you to want to do something yourself.  Without Taylor in my life, I don’t think I would have had nearly as much dedication to becoming a vet as I do, nor would I have the experience in self researching.  He’s a very sweet boy who was dealt a crummy hand in life, but still won’t give up.  


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