Getting your pet 'tiel to be friendly takes an empathetic approach. Like other types of animals, an unsocialized cockatiel will be fearful. He needs to know that you're OK, and you can help him realize this with a little perseverance, a calm, soothing voice and a few yummy treats.
Leave your 'tiel pretty much undisturbed for the first day or two you bring him home. This helps him soak in his surroundings without being overwhelmed.
Give a short whistle, tell him he's a pretty bird or simply say "hi" to him in a friendly, soothing voice when you walk by his cage. While these interactions may not seem like much to you, they will allow your 'tiel to get used to you on his own time.
Drop fresh treats in his cage as you walk by during the first couple of days. Fresh fruits, veggies or millet spray are ideal treats. You can also try holding the treats in your fingers and feeding them through the cage bars. Food is an excellent tool for training and taming. Your little guy will start to associate your kindness and your hands with a yummy snack.
Take your feathered friend to a veterinarian to clip his wings. While this is something many bird owners do on their own, you can learn how to properly do it from a veterinarian if you're inexperienced. Clipping the wings prevents your bird from flying away from you -- something that can greatly help during the taming process.
Sit beside your little friend's cage and place your hand in the cage. While keeping your hand still within the cage, talk to you cockatiel in a calming, friendly voice. You can read to him, sing to him or simply talk to him. This will allow your 'tiel to get used to having your hand near him and in the cage.
Offer treats in your hand while you're sitting there once your 'tiel gets used to having your hand in his cage. Again, offering treats is a great way to get your little guy to accept your fingers.
Give a little scratch on his head or a slight belly rub with your finger once your 'tiel starts interacting with you and your hand in a positive way. These slight offers of affection will mean the world to a cockatiel who is still trying to decide whether you're friend or foe.
Allow your feathered friend to climb around on your hand or encourage him to join you outside of the cage while you're sitting beside it. After he's accepted treats from your hand inside the cage and allowed you to stroke him slightly, it's only a matter of time before he'll want more and more affection.
- Cockatiels may not always be friendly with guests, as many pet birds get very attached to their person. Allowing your 'tiel to get used to new people slowly, as he did with you, can greatly help him accept others into his life.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.