Honeysuckle the Cockatoo Gets Spoiled

Cockatoo article InYourFlockby Sandy Lender

It’s not every day that you meet another best friend and have a qualified vet on hand to check out that best friend. Debbie Lacy of Orrville, Ohio, saw the stars align when she visited a bird rescue in a neighboring town with some friends in 2014. Her friend Tammy Johnson Sims was taking a donation of parrot food to the rescue and the group went in, walking past a cage in the foyer. Lacy felt compelled to stop and look in the cage, where a shy Citron-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) sat huddled in the far corner.

“I just knew then she was going home with me that day,” Lacy said.

Dr. Scott E. McDonald, DVM, was onsite that day doing checkups with birds so the bird got groomed and received a physical exam. Lacy gave her the name Honeysuckle and took her home for a five-week quarantine.

“She took to her new name real well,” Lacy said. “I wanted to give her a new life, and that started with the new name.”

After her quarantine time, Honeysuckle got a full workup from Lacy’s egular avian vet. Lacy used the band on Honeysuckle’s leg to research what she could about her new friend’s background. The first three letters on the band gave her the clues she needed to find the breeder who brought Honeysuckle into the world. She contacted Rick Jordan at Hill Country Aviaries LLC, Dripping Springs, Texas, to learn that Honeysuckle hatched May 1, 2003. The sweet bird was 11 years old when Lacy adopted her.

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We don’t know for sure what took place before Honeysuckle landed at the rehoming center in Ohio. One spring day in 2014, she began her new life with Debbie Lacy’s family.

“I feel pretty lucky to have her,” Lacy said. “She owns me. Just from the very beginning, she’s bonded to me.”

Honeysuckle’s new life is what Lacy called “a good match.” At the Lacy home, Honeysuckle has other bird friends, but they each have their own space. Lacy explained that she has lined the bird room with tile to make the walls easier to clean; this means the birds can have out-of-cage time to fly around and play at will.

“Out-of-cage, she really enjoys her very own java tree and a dangling toy that has daisies and a bell. She’s also a fan of shredding toys. But her favorite thing is sitting on my lap.”

They also have an outdoor aviary where they get sunshine and fresh air.

“They have an outside aviary inside a fenced-in yard,” Lacy said, describing the extra security. That great outdoors also gives them fresh foods. “My husband’s into gardening, so they get green beans fresh out of the garden. They get organic zucchini, green beans, peppers, sweet potatoes, strawberries and a variety of greens.”

For their formulated food, Lacy feeds Harrison’s pellets, which Honeysuckle took some time to get used to. The cockatoo really digs her fresh foods.

Cockatoo parrot magazine In Your Flock
Honeysuckle enjoys her showers.

“She gets a little piece of papaya every night,” Lacy said. “She takes it out of the bowl and dunks it in her water, and then eats it.”

To go on vacation, Lacy and her husband have taken turns over the years. They’re committed to keeping the birds in their lives happy and cared for. In 2018, they’ll get a vacation together because they have pet sitting arranged at home.

Lining walls with tile, making special vacation arrangements, building a special outdoor aviary, daily chopping fresh fruits and veggies, are all part of a life the Lacys enjoy giving their birds. “She [Honeysuckle] deserves it. You don’t know what their past or the first 10 years were like.” For Lacy, giving Honeysuckle a great future is a joy.