On Wednesday my rescue cockatiel died, leaving Bee as the last one. I bred and handraised whitefaced cockatiels Bee and his brother Cookie, my favorite who died last year. The rescue, mostly known as Herself, was a normal gray cockatiel who never liked me. Around twelve years ago she flew into my yard and I lured her down by putting out a cage with Cookie in it. They called back and forth until she flew down to his cage and I grabbed her. Fortunately cockatiels aren't strong biters.
No one responded to my "found bird" notices and signs. I suspected she had escaped "accidentally on purpose" from her former home. She wasn't hand tamed like mine and, for all the years I had her, she screeched at me every time I opened the cage door to put in food or take out dirty dishes. She even tried to bite the hand that fed her. She did, however, enjoy her spray baths even though I was the person holding the spray bottle of water. When I started spraying, she'd hop to the highest perch, raise her crest and spread her wings like somebody going, "Aaahhh."
I'd known for a week that she was sick. Although cockatiels like to forage on the ground and spend lots of time on the floors of their cages, Herself was spending more time sitting there than usual or up on a perch sleeping too much. I did not take her to the vet. Here's why:
Birds are masters at concealing infirmity; by the time they look ill, they're very ill. For years I took sick birds on stressful trips to the avian vet. I'd stuff medicine down their throats, return to the vet, spend more and more money, only to see the birds die of the complaint anyway.