When a PETA investigator worked undercover at Rainbow World Exotics (RWE), an animal-breeding mill in Texas that supplies birds and small mammals to national chains like PetSmart and PETCO, she met a juvenile Goffin's cockatoo whom she dubbed "Angel." This little white bird was lethargic and appeared ill but was very vocal about RWE's neglect. Angel screamed and screamed all alone from inside a cage—for food, for attention, for anyone to come and help.
For the six weeks that the investigator saw Angel waste away, the baby bird was never treated by a veterinarian. This neglect was dangerous, not just to Angel’s health, but to other birds and even to workers and future bird buyers; many bird illnesses are transmissible to humans. When PETA's investigator asked if Angel could see a vet or if she could adopt the bird herself, the owner of RWE scoffed at the idea. Workers guessed at the illness and "treated" it by shoving a syringe down Angel's throat multiple times a day, pumping water in and out, in an amateur attempt to flush out undigested food. "Flushing" is potentially life-threatening if water is pushed into the lungs instead of the digestive tract.
Over time, the baby bird's cries became feebler and Angel had trouble balancing and standing. At 4 months of age, Angel died, far short of the normal 40-year life span of these cockatoos. Goffin's cockatoos should be living in flocks of up to 100 birds, flying, foraging, bonding with mates, and nesting. Cockatoos like Angel at RWE are confined to barren wire cages and are either sold to pet stores at a very young age or used as "breeding machines" until no longer profitable.
This is the life that Goffin's
cockatoos should lead …
eating tropical rambutans in
their native Indonesia.
Goffin's Cockatoo Facts
- Goffin's cockatoos are the smallest of the cockatoo family and can live to be older than 40.
- In the wild, Goffin's cockatoos remain in flocks that can include more than 100 birds.
- In captivity, Goffin's cockatoos are very active and need extended periods of time outside the cage as well as a variety of toys to prevent stress, which could lead to feather-picking and destructive behavior.
- Goffin's cockatoos love puzzle-type toys—finding hidden things, taking things apart, untying complex knots, etc. They are also known to be escape artists, and they respond well to music and love to dance.