How to Get a Cockatiel to Like You? (Complete Guide)

The most challenging stage between a pet and its owner is the first encounter. The same with people, it is a bit awkward when we are meeting a stranger for the first time. So, if you’re planning to get yourself a cockatiel, it will be quite a challenge on how to get your cockatiel to accept you as their owner. 

So how can you get your cockatiel to like you? The secret to a strong bond between you and your pet is trust. If your cockatiel develops an attachment to you, he will start trusting you. 

From that moment on, he will get comfortable in your presence. He will also start to accept you as his caregiver. That is the necessary foundation of a pet-owner relationship.

From the first day of having your cockatiel, the bonding will start there. It will continue with your interaction at home, throughout the day, and throughout the time you will be together.

That is a challenge all bird owners have. All bird owners went through with this test. This is the first struggle you will have with your cockatiel.

There is nothing to worry though because once you will pass this test, you will have a harmonious time with your bird. Let us look further into this challenge.

How Do You Get A Cockatiel To Trust You?

When your cockatiel first enters your house, this will be a stressful time for them. They will be in a new environment, an environment they have never set their eyes on. It will need some time for your bird to get used to its new environment. 

At this time, allow your cockatiel to get used to the surroundings. Let him get used to its cage, and do not overwhelm your bird into talking to it immediately after taking it home

Taking your time is your new best friend with this challenge. Here are the tips that you can do to make your cockatiel trust you.

1. Have A Sit and Chat With Your Cockatiel

Birds are like humans. They develop trust through communication. Get acquainted with your bird. Have a sit with them. 

Talk to them often in a gentle voice and gentle behavior. Every day, approach their cage slowly and have a little chat with them. Notice if every time you do this, your bird will slowly approach you when you talk to them. 

You have to be patient. Do not talk to them immediately with a normal voice and then approach their cage. Do not put your hands in their cage unless you are sure they trust you already. 

Have consistent chit chat with your cockatiel. In that way, your cockatiel will look forward to the day you will have a chat with them.

2. Visit Your Veterinarian and Have Your Cockatiel’s Wings Clipped

Clipping your bird’s wings is also very important. If you don’t clip its wings and you will allow your bird to fly freely around the house, you might have a hard time training your bird. You have to train your bird first into submission. 

This is your situation; if you allow your bird to fly in the house and is not yet trained, you will have trouble putting it inside the cage. You might be harsh to it and aggressive, and it will scare your cockatiel away. 

If you chase your bird, your bird might develop a fear for you, which will not help you with your training process. The first thing to do is train your bird before allowing it to fly around the house.

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3. Offer Treats To Your Cockatiel Once In A While

If you have trained your bird and already developed an attachment to you, your bird will likely trust you. If your bird has trust in you, it will no longer be afraid of you. 

You can approach your cockatiel’s cage how you want it as long as you exhibit non-aggressive behavior. If your cockatiel approaches your hand, you can offer your cockatiel treats. 

Make sure to give your cockatiels treats that he likes. When giving treats, talk to him slowly and gently. This will improve the relationship into a more solid one. Use their name when talking to them. This will improve your relationship with your bird.

4. Allot Time To Come And Play With Your Cockatiel

If your cockatiel will take treats from your hand, then that is a significant achievement. You can slowly open their cage and offer treats from your hand. 

This is a big improvement to your relationship. Offer your hand. Your goal is to allow your bird to come into your hand. This is a sign of trust. 

Repeat this goal every day until your cockatiel is comfortable enough to go into your hand.

5. Train Your Cockatiel To Come To You Or Fly To You

As mentioned, this is a very powerful aspect of the relationship. If your birds fly to you with no hesitation, that means your cockatiel trusts you altogether now. 

You should make this a goal that you should reach. Train your bird to fly to you. This might take a lot of patience and attention. 

This will be very hard at first, but it will be worth it in the future. When training your bird for this, prepare for a lot of treats. You have to reward them with a treat every time they do something right.

RelatedHow to make your new cockatiel feel at home

6. Work In Close Proximity To You Bird

You can approach your bird anytime, but they will get tense or be on an alert if you approach them, and they have not yet fully trusted you. 

So to combat that, do something but stay close with your bird. For example, you can do paper work but do it close to your bird. In that way, your cockatiel will get used to your presence and will get comfortable around you.

7. Learn How They Behave

This just means that you have to learn their body language. Our birds cannot talk to us, so it is vital to learn what their behaviors say about their moods and feelings. 

Sometimes, a cockatiel might be making a sound or doing something with its body. You have to learn to figure out what they meant by that. 

For example, if irritated, a cockatiel might shake its head. If they dislike the food, they will also shake their head. This is an essential part of the relationship.

friendly cockatiel

How Long Does It Take For A Cockatiel To Get Used To You?

In gaining your bird’s trust, the amount of time will vary with every cockatiel. In a standard time, your bird will get at least two weeks to adjust to their environment. 

Some birds may take longer, and some birds can adjust to their environment in just a week. Regardless of this, it is vital not to assume the amount of time they will adjust to their surroundings and to you. 

Feel your bird. If they trust you, you will definitely notice that.

How Do You Bond With A Cockatiel?

Bonding with your cockatiel is done after the gaining of trust. A cockatiel cannot or will not bond with you if they do not trust you. Here are some tips you can get your bird to bond with you.

1. The First Few Days Are Crucial

Give your cockatiel time to get used to the new environment first. Be consistent with the giving of water and food. Do not approach your bird in an aggressive manner. This time is about courting your bird to trust you. 

2. You Can Train Your Bird

Training is a part of bonding. When you train your bird, you bond with them as well. Just make sure you start training them after they developed trust in you. 

3. You Can Pet and Cuddle Your Cockatiel

The same with human beings; birds love cuddles. However, this is hard because you need to have their full trust before doing this, but it is fulfilling. 

Most of the time, cockatiels love to have their heads being petted. They will lower their heads to you. It means that they want you to pet them. Do this generously and as often as your bird wants.

4. Spend Time With Your Cockatiel When Eating

Food is a basic need. It is part of nature. There is a unique kind of intimacy when it comes to food. 

With this, bond with your bird when they are eating. You can feed them with your hands. That way, they will learn to get comfortable with you.

Do cockatiels get lonely? Read more here.

How Do You Tell If A Cockatiel Likes You?

If your cockatiel does not want you or like you, they will show that to you in terms of their behavior. If your bird is still not fond of you, you would know that. 

They would bite you or will come to you in an aggressive manner. But some behaviors will portray that your cockatiel likes you. Let us discuss them one by one.

1. Regurgitation

If your bird develops a strong attachment to you, they sometimes regurgitate. Birds offer their mate with food. If your bird has treated you as their mate since a cockatiel is very friendly and needs affection, they will offer their food to you.

2. Your Cockatiel Will Preen Your Hair

Cockatiels groom their mate. This is a sign of affection. If your bird grooms or preens your hair, it means they developed an affection for you.

3. Cockatiels Will Wag Their Tails With Flashing Eyes

If your cockatiel does this, it could mean that they are excited. This could mean that they want to play with you or bond with you.

4. Your Cockatiel Will March Toward You With Heads Up

This could also be an invitation for you to play with your bird, pet them, or preen because they wanted your attention.

Do Cockatiels Get Attached To One Person?

Yes. Cockatiels are companion birds. They live through with their existence with someone. That someone can be a human or their own kind. 

Cockatiels can also tend to get attached to one person but can still be friends with everyone else. Of course, given that they gained the trust of their bird.

How much attention does a cockatiel need? A lot!


In summary, getting your cockatiel to like you is a challenge. It is a very fulfilling challenge, though. There are tips that you can do to gain their trust.

Your first opportunity to work with getting your cockatiel to trust you is in the very moment he enters your home. You see, at this time, your cockatiel will still have distrust and will still be uncomfortable towards you.

Give your time and effort, and sooner, rather than later, you will be in a state where your birds will see you as their companion.


Image credits – Canva

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