Plugged Nose


If you are a caged bird and not feeling well, how do you convey your problems? What happens when you have a cold and your nose is clogged with crud and no one will give you a hankie and cold meds?  You certainly don’t have digits to pick your nose with. Well, you might come close to death if your owner isn’t paying attention. I feel like a bad owner for not having been aware of my little guy’s circumstances. Spring and fall are notorious times for birdy head colds at our home. When sinus issues start, I typically see him shake his head, which I wasn’t seeing. However he was sitting on the cage floor with head tucked under his wing and not eating a stitch of food for several days. A very bad sign! Saturday morning he wasn’t even responding to sirens or any whistles. Not a good thing! I thought he was a gonner. However, I proceeded to scoop him up and make a trip into the bathroom where I swabbed out his nostrils (getting bit in the process- always an excellent sign of spunk), and plunked him back in the cage. Humidifier was set up and running right next to his home. In less than 2 hours he was feeling better, munching bread, broccoli and even some millet.

Quigley is the sole remaining cockatiel in our household. He’s about 24 years old at this point (23 years with me). Having been a rescue bird I don’t know the hatch date. He’s outlived his mate and the one son I kept. We like to grow them old at our house. I’m really not certain what the key to our success is. They only go to the vet when things get really bad. They don’t eat pellet food because I’ve never been able to switch them over. Yes, they just get seed and extra stuff. Toys can only consist of natural materials since we’ve experienced zinc poisoning in the past. Cage locations almost never change, nor do perch locations or food cups. With old birds comes bad eyesight and arthritis. They don’t like change at this stage of life. In an average household, these little guys live 7-12 years.

He’s perked up considerably since Saturday morning so we will keep up with the increased humidity, extra bread,  and millet sprays. He was even chatting to me when I first checked him this morning. All good signs.



Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

15 thoughts on “Plugged Nose

    1. You use 2 cotton swabs. One goes to the bird to keep it’s beak occupied while the other (damp with water) is used to moisten and release the plug. 🙂

      1. for such a little bird, they really can bite hard. But nothing compares to the bites from the cockatoo. Whew, they can be bad!!! Hence the reason my husband refuses to do anything for the cockatoo. 😦

      2. Yes, the cockatoo does. Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds. It always amazes me what he can do. Can’t forget the breaking of his cage bars too and trying to crack open the head of a cockatiel. Oh my!
        Thank goodness Sparta and Ming don’t inflict that sort of pain!

    1. Oh so true. Having spent so much time in Eugene, I’ve been ignoring the household health. Mine too.
      Those ancient ones are tricky as you well know!

    1. When you take birds out of their normal habitat, things happen. Our climate isn’t like yours, it’s cold, wet, and surprisingly low humidity. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: