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Monday, January 31, 2011

Barbies or barbells for our bird's birthday?

I've come to realize recently that my girlfriend and I may have incorrectly identified the sex of our bird.

I recently did some deeper research while writing an article about Cockatiel speech, and I think our happy baby girl may actually be a boy.

Let me just start by saying: It's not our fault.

I mean, it's not easy to tell if a Cockatiel is a male – it's not like it Googles images of Snooki from Jersey Shore as a tell-tale sign. But even if it did, that still wouldn't be enough to go on as Snooki seems to like girls, and girls seem to like Snooki too.

Not that there's anything at all wrong with that, even if it's just for ratings.

So here's The Situation we're dealing with (like how I did that? Yes you do.)

We bought our bird from a lovely little pet store in Bloor West Village in Toronto, but the staff wasn't 100 per cent certain if it was a male or female – to be fair, she/he was only a handful of weeks old at the time.

In the following days we decided, in ways I don't fully recall, that our Cockatiel is a female. Maybe it was her rosy cheeks, her love of Jennifer Hudson's singing, or her favouritism of mommy (which continues).

I believe we ended up judging the gender of Beaker (yes, we were smart enough to give the bird an asexual name) by the stripes on her tail feathers, which is apparently a female trait. But I have learned from several sources now that male and female Cockatiels have tail stripes until they molt. (Has our bird already molted? That's another mystery to uncover. Stay tuned.)

I have also learned that male birds are more likely to vocalize words, with females being more shy. Our Beaker has learned how to say 'Beaker' and the more complicated 'Mommy Loves Beaker'. Beaker's mom makes sure she says that phrase 50 to 60 times a day to ensure the bird remembers it.

Will I feel awkward if we determine Beaker is actually male?

No siree. As they say in the parenting world, it doesn't matter if it's a girl or a boy, as long as it's healthy. 

-- Know anything about Cockatiels and can set the record straight by looking at the photo of Beaker? Drop me a line. 

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