The sanctuary is home to four sulpher crested cockatoo’s. Magic came to live at the sanctuary after he was no longer wanted due to his behaviours. Birds like cockatoos tend to bond with one person and they can become quite possessive of ‘their’ person. This may lead to some behaviours such as biting directed at any other who may take the attention away from them. They can also exhibit destructive behaviour when they are bored.
The keeping of birds such as sulphur crested cockatoos and other native birds is unfair and a commitment that most people cannot meet. Cockatoos can live for a very long time, some have been known to regularly reach 50 years and others have been known to get much older than this. Can you imagine living that amount of time in a cage with no space to spread your wings or engage in natural behaviours? Cockatoos are clever and inquisitive birds and need to be kept entertained with things to chew and climb. If you have a bird such as this it is important to make provisions for it after your passing, as it is highly likely the bird will out live you.
Jacqui found Gorky walking along the road late last year. He did not have many feathers and appeared to still be a youngster. Upon a trip to the vet we learned through a blood test that Gorky suffers from “Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease”. This virus is largely a death sentence and in its acute form the bird can die very quickly, in the chronic form, which Gorky has, he will slowly lose all his feathers and perhaps part of his beak. It is also likely that a bird with disease will die of other illnesses or infections due to a compromised immune system. Basically Gorky may have 12 months or less with us. He lives inside and is kept warm. He is quickly losing more feathers as can be seen below.
Despite this, Gorky loves life. He loves cuddles and kisses and his neck scratched. Due to other birds that call the sanctuary home, Gorky is kept separate to the others and a strict hygiene regime is adhered to. This disease can be spread through the birds feathers and faeces and can remain an active virus in nest hollows/boxes etc for a long period of time. In captivity it is important to make sure that good hygiene is practiced for all birds with clean cages and nesting boxes important for general bird health. There are many sites on the internet that can provide further information.