Cockatiels don’t really “sing” or “talk” in the same way that parrots do, but cockatiels do mimic the sounds they hear with their whistles. You can find many CDs with phrases and songs to teach your cockatiel, but most of the time these are overused and boring choices. You can, in fact, teach your cockatiel to sing any song you want. Want to hear your cockatiel sing the “Gilligan’s Island Them Song” or “Eye of the Tiger?” Here is a step-by-step guide on how to teach your cockatiel to sing any song:
1) You will need a midi version of your song choice. Midi’s are a simple version of complicated songs, and the notes will be easier for the cockatiel to learn and mimic. Many websites have midi versions of songs available for free. You will easily find midi versions of video game music, classic music, and TV theme songs.
2) Turning an mp3 song into a midi song. This is a far from easy task, but it is possible. If you want to teach your cockatiel to sing any song, and you can only find your song choice in mp3 format, you will want to convert it to midi. There are programs that will do the conversion, but do not expect a clear song. Programs like the Widi Recognition System, will playback the midi in piano only. That is great for teaching your cockatiel to sing any song. Your best bet is to find a midi version of your song. Chances are high that you will find it somewhere.
3) Burning the song to a CD. If you can keep your computer near the cockatiel cage, then you can skip this part. If not, burn the midi to a CD and keep a CD player near the cockatiel cage. You will have to convert the midi to mp3 format. This is easy to do. You can find midi to mp3 converter programs all over the Internet, and many come with free trials that will give you plenty of time to convert every song you want to teach your cockatiel to sing.
4) Begin the repetition. For about 10 minutes several times a day put your song choice on repeat. If you are not home, just let the song repeatedly play. That’s a great way to burn the tune into your cockatiel’s brain. To keep yourself from going crazy and getting an earworm, keep the cockatiel cage in a separate room from where you are.
5) Use your own voice to teach your cockatiel to sing any song. Your cockatiel will learn faster with your help. They like to interact with you. When you talk to them, cockatiels immediately perk up and take interest. Every little while, whistle the song you want them to learn while standing right by their cage. Better yet, whistle the tune when you have them out of the cage and hanging out with you. They will recognize the song, from having heard it for hours, and will want to copy you.
6) Give the cockatiel plenty of time to learn. Like humans, some cockatiels learn faster than others. You might be able to teach your cockatiel to sing any song in just days, while others might take weeks. The point is to be patient. Keep playing the song, and keep whistling.
Tips on teaching your cockatiel to sing any song:
1) Not every cockatiel likes to sing. Male cockatiels will sing more than females. That’s because they are using their mating calls. If your cockatiel loves to whistle and make noises, you stand a great chance of being able to teach your cockatiel to sing any song.
2) Remove distractions. Some cockatiel owners claim that removing distractions, such as toys and mirrors, from the cage will force the bird to pay attention to the sounds being played. If your cockatiel ignores the music and prefers its toys, you might want to remove them. The TV is another good example of a distraction. Turn it off.
3) Does your bird like the song? You will know if the cockatiel likes the sound because it will react to it. If your bird seems to ignore the music, you might want to try a different song. Of course, your pet still might learn the song because it can’t get the tune out of its head.
4) Sometimes it helps to start slow when teaching your cockatiel to sing. Start out by whistling phrases, or speaking them in higher pitched tones. For example, teach your cockatiel to say, “I love you” or “hello.” When they’ve gotten the hang of learning simple phrases, you can start to teach your cockatiel to sing any song.
A cockatiel that won’t stop singing the “Chocobo Theme Song.”
McCaffrey, Eleanor. New Cockatiels, Advice for new cockatiel owners, cockatielcottage.net