The Wild Caught Cockatoos

The following photos show the gorgeous island homes of the Cockatoos. They lived in paradise …for awhile

New Britain Island home to the Blue-eyed Cockatoo

The Blue eyed Cockatoo (above) uncommon in the US pet trade. The eye ring is a cobalt blue as shown in the photo!  They look like a Triton/ Moluccan hybrid. The crest lays flat on their head like the Moluccan Cockatoo.

Tanimbar Island home to the Goffins
Tidore Island home of the Umbrellas
Tidore home to the Umbrellas
Flores Islands home to the Lesser's
Flores Islands home to the Lesser's
Seram Island home to the Moluccan Cockatoo
Sumba Island home of the Citron
Aru Island home of Eleonora
Sumba Island home of the Citron
Flores Islands home of the Lesser's
Celebes home of the Lessers
Bacon Island home of the Umbrella's

Can you imagine flying free in paradise .... next, stuffed in a bottle?

For those who survived the transport ….. the horror continues. Can you imagine how terrified they are?

Triton Cockatoos
No perches?

For those birds that were “lucky” enough to survive capture, transport and distribution, there is more horror to come.

Once they arrived in the United States, they were held in quarantine stations. If they survived quarantine, they were auctioned off to the public. Most of the birds were purchased by breeding facilities to start  pumping out babies for the pet trade. The remainder, were purchased to “tame” and be sold as pets. 

The wild-caught going into breeding facilities, were kept in small cages, outfitted with a nest box and a couple of perches, if they are lucky. See Photos Below 

All legally imported birds, were required to be banded. Those bands are called import bands, open band or wild caught bands. They have 3 numbers and 3 letters, to represent which state and quarantine station the bird came through. And to verify legal import, as opposed to smuggled birds. See Photos Right 

Because the band could be caught on cage wire, many of those bands were removed for safety reasons. Just because there is no band, it could still be a wild caught. There are domestically hatched birds, without leg bands. The reason? Small hobby breeders, don’t always band large birds.  The band suppliers will have minimum orders. If the small breeder has just a few babies a year, they don’t want to make a minimum order of 100 or 1,000. printed with the breeder name and numbered. 


This is a typical set up for smaller birds
This is typical outdoor set up for larger birds

My heart aches for the poor wild caught Cockatoos that have been put through a living hell by humans.

The birds going into breeding facilities, were paired off and given a nest box. I can only imagine the stress they felt, leaving paradise and waking up in a small cage. 

They have nothing to do… but, lay eggs in hope of making a replacement family. Their babies, eggs are taken from them, so their body will be “tricked” into laying more eggs as replacement. A big Cockatoo breeder, told me when he takes their eggs or babies out of the nest.. The pair will scream for days afterwards. They were grieving, he told me. All that humans have taken from these wild caught birds… now we take their babies.

Some of the wild caught birds, were not producing eggs. Often, they would install blinders (tarps) between cages, to prevent any “distraction” from the other breeder birds nearby. Distractions after all, distract from breeding. Toys distract from breeding, what would these wild birds think of toys? Some would beat up the toys in anger. These birds are expected to pay their way with fertile eggs. 

If the pair doesn’t produce well, they are separated, re-paired, or traded over and over and over again. Until, they are used up, body depleted, no longer an asset, no longer paying their way. And, the breeder will put the bird “down”. The breeding facility owners tell me, they won’t work with rescue organizations because of concerns the birds will be adopted (sold) for a fee. They think rescues will try to tame them down, the old wild caught’s and the low adoption fee’s will create competition, for the baby birds they sell. Why pay $2,000. for a baby Cockatoo when you can adopt one, with a cage for $500.? Additionally, because mainstream rescues are extremely vocal, about breeding facility owners causing the pet bird crisis of too many birds, they don’t want to give them anymore ammunition. I can see their point.

I have worked years to build “trust” with some breeders. So they will retire, those old, used up, good for nothing, can’t pay their way, wild caught Cockatoo’s here at The Cockatoo Rescue and Sanctuary. I built this for those wild caught Cockatoos because they deserve a safe, secure, peaceful, caring, stress free life….. or what’s left of it. It’s the least we owe them, for what we have done to them. Let them retire with dignity, among their own kind. 

Clearly my heart goes out to Cockatoos. The reason I don’t include other species of parrots, including Macaws, Greys and Amazons, these species are not as enthusiastic living in the colonies we have. The Cockatoo reaction is over the top thrilled to see each other. When a new wild caught comes, the thrill on their face is worth a million. The excitement is contagious. Like a movie….. something wonderful is happening….. lets look! Even Cockatoos in other enclosures sense the excitement. Then walk over to the Greys and their reaction is…. so? Macaws are…..whatever. And the Amazons….. they are grumpy

I have talked to many people over the years, who would love to do rescue work. They just don’t know how to start or those that need a direction. You can keep an eye out for wild caught birds and free them by sending them here, to retire with their own species of Cockatoo. It’s a unique way to right a wrong. They have suffered enough.


Please consider donating to our non profit Sanctuary. Your donation will help us provide for the wild caught birds that need care and understanding. Thank you