You may have heard that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. This can apply to parrots as well. Jordan came to my house for a reason that I am just figuring out.
Jordan is a Timneh African gray parrot. She was perfect, not blind or toeless, and I thought I would enjoy a close relationship with her. The prospect of being her companion excited me. With my two special needs Congo grays, I already had the food and supplements I needed, so it wouldn’t be a big deal to add one more.
The reason behind the rehoming of this bird was not uncommon. Jordan had been owned by nice people, but for some reason they surrendered her to a veterinarian. She had a framed certificate confirming her hatch date and that she is male. Jordan choose to ignore that designation. My friend Fred volunteered at this vet hospital and worked with parrots they were rehoming. Jordan took to Fred like he was her long lost human, and the vet staff let him take her home.
Jordan, like all Timnehs, is small and compact. Her gray is a dark gray, and her tail is maroon instead of a bright red. She has a wicked sense of fun. Jordan came to club meetings with Fred and sat with me a few times. She loved almonds and would sit quietly through the meeting with this treat. Fred was understandably proud of her. He worked with her to the point where he could roll her on her back, and she would remain in his hands like that until he told her to get up.
Then I lost track of Fred and wasn’t attending the club meetings. On my birthday one year Fred called and asked if I would take in Jordan. Fred had been in the hospital with heart problems, and while he was getting better, doing well, he found he wasn’t able to tolerate her noise and behavior problems well. He needed to stay calm and stress free, and Jordan didn’t make that easy. After talking to Mike, I said I would take her, but I assured Fred that Jordan would always be his bird.
I am honored that Fred asked me to take Jordan. At my house, she decided she didn’t like to step up. She started to bite, and if we let her have time on top of the cage, we had a struggle to get her back in. Jordan had designated me as the Evil Human who took her away from the home she loved. Almonds were useful to distract her when giving her fresh food and water. In spite of these issues, I grew fond of her and enjoyed all the noises she made. She became a part of the flock and I thought I would some day win her trust enough to handle her.
Jordan did like to interact with us as long as we didn’t try to pick her up. The exceptions were when she would take a flight when startled and end up on the floor or in another room. Then she would allow us to extend a hand to her, she would step up and go back inside her cage. We had changed her to a cage that had access doors for the food and water, so that we didn’t have to reach inside the cage. Jordan quickly got the hang of this process, and would do her best to grab the hand or fingers that came in just far enough to get the dish.
She joined in the chorus with our other grays whenever the mood struck her, but had little curiosity about them. She never tried to go to their cages. When other birds flew into the office and landed on her cage, she entered attack mode and drove them off.
Fred came to visit a couple times, and it was so obvious when he was there that Jordan still loved him. She stepped up, she cooed and bent her head for preening, and did not want to go back to her cage. When he left, Jordan moped for some time. I hurt for them, and always reminded Fred that Jordan would be his bird forever.
Apparently Fred never forgot. A year passed, and he hesitantly asked if I would let him take Jordan back. Yes, I said, and made the arrangements. One thing we wanted to do was send her home in a new cage. So the day when she was to return to Fred, we went to the local bird supply store and picked out a nice cage with a play top. Fred thanked us for the cage and for the favor of returning his parrot. Jordan took a flight around the apartment and settled in.
Some time after, Mike and I went to visit Fred. We could hear Jordan whistling and calling from the parking lot. But as soon as we entered the apartment, and she heard our voices, she stopped completely. Not a sound did she make, even when we went to the room her cage was in to say hi. She looked at us uneasily.
When we finished our visit and went out, in the parking lot again we could hear Jordan. I wonder if in her mind, she thought she had escaped another rehoming.