It is unfortunately far too common for people to see big pretty birds and want to take one home without doing any research. All parrots require varying amounts of dedication and attention, but cockatoos are especially needy. When those needs aren't tended to, they can become severely depressed and even self mutilate (plucking out their own feathers and biting wounds into themselves).
Here are some basic things you should ask yourself:
Have you heard a cockatoo scream? It's loud
and not a pretty birdy tweet by a long shot.
Do you have neighbors? If you are living wall to wall with your neighbors you should prepare for eviction. Even in a house in a suburban area, your neighbors will hear your cockatoo (I've had the police show up at my door because it sounds like someone is being murdered- I'm not kidding).
Are you, or is someone in your household home most of the day? These are emotional birds-- while they don't necessarily require 8 hours of attention every day, you cannot lock them in a cage and abandon them for 8 hours on a regular basis. They will feel abandoned.
Do you have a local vet who is well equipped to handle exotic birds?
Do you have the money to provide the toys, perches, and roomy enclosure (and the vet bills). Large cages will be upwards of $800, on top of the $50 wooden toys that they will destroy in days or less.
On that note, are you prepared for their destructiveness? They chew like crazy. My bird took down an entire chair, popped the keys off my keyboard, reduced my books to shreds, and punctured my leather shoes. As said above, they require attention and a lot of that is the ability to keep an eye on them.
Can you cook? Parrots are not birds that can live on seed diets.
Can you commit a lifetime to your bird? They often live well over 40 years (up to 90)!
Do you have other pets? Will they get along?
Who will care for the bird when you go on vacation?
Do you have the patience to deal with biting? Cockatoos are known for their painful bites; they have two sharp points on their lower beak which can make for nasty triple punctures.
For more information, please visit MyToos.com [link]
where you can hear a sound clip of a cockatoo screaming and get the entire rundown of how intensive these animals can be to care for.
In the right hands, cockatoos can make absolutely incredible companions, full of snuggles and entertainment. It's very easy to fall in love with a baby 'too and want to take one home-- please spare your bird the heartache and know what you are getting into first!