For the last three years or so, our Congo African Gray parrot, Bo Dangles, Bobo to her friends, has been the top-ranking parrot in the house. Daily, Mike or I would play with her, give her treats, and as she has no toes, try to make her comfortable in her cage. I even got her to come out on a pillow and scoot around on the floor. Unfortunately she turned out to be a toe biter, and until she learns to bark like a chihuahua, she’s back to being a cage bird.
Our other CAG, Blind Io, is happier to be left alone, as long as he has food, water, a cardboard box to chew on, and a plastic toy to carry around. He really dislikes it when we move perches or bowls around, and barely tolerates cage cleaning.
Now we have added a double yellow headed Amazon (DYH) to the mix. Maynard talks much more than either Bobo or Io. He climbs out of his cage and spends time on his play top. He loves cardboard tubes, almonds, and telling us Good-bye. After 2 weeks, he’s stopped panicking when one of us leaves the room. Now he only panics when both of us leave the room.
A few nights ago, Mike gave Maynard a crusty heel of bread, and the bird loved it. He chewed on it all evening. As soon as his cage was open the next morning, he went back to the crust.
Bobo was not amused. We haven’t played with her for a while, as her new cage limits ways we can do this. The cage does have wider spaced bars, that allow both of us to give her scratches and petting. I even cautiously gave her kisses on the top of her beak. Since Maynard’s arrival, Bobo is a bitey bird more than usual.
I looked at my behavior, to make sure I still say good morning to her first, and give her scratches when I turn on the lights. I give her treats when Maynard gets them. Even if she turns up her beak at almonds or bread, I make sure she gets fresh food before Maynard. So she knows she still outranks hims.
I even run back to the office to tell her good night if I was so tired I left without doing so. I make sure I include her in everything that goes on near her cage. She likes to climb up the back of her cage so she can look out the window at the budgies. She does this when I am outside doing yard work or when Mike is building a cage or feeding outside birds.
Bobo has started to pick up some of the things Maynard says. I hope that means she is warming up to him. Time will tell, and maybe when I get to set up a playpen on the floor for Bobo, she and Maynard may spend some time closer to each other, maybe get to be friends.
I worry about Maynard being hurt by Bobo, even though he is a bigger bird. He is very gentle, and totally blows out of the water my preconceived notion that Amazons bite, period. Bobo is aggressive, and bites. When we first brought her and Io home, we tried to put them in the same cage. Bobo followed Io around to the extent she could, pulling on his feathers. He cried and growled at her, and we had to separate them again.
I promise to update this relationship saga, but I want to share a development with Dani, our orange front conure. Dani somehow hatched in a poor environment for baby birds. She has the worst case of splayed legs I have ever seen. Like Bobo, she gets around her cage pretty well and hangs on the side bars. Since she can’t perch, at night she lays on towels we put in the bottom of her cage. Sometimes she even rolls herself up in the towels. She’s a sweet bird, but the first time we saw her sound asleep on the bottom of her cage, we were alarmed. Luckily her prior owner had told us about this habit of hers.
Dani only wanted seeds to eat at first. Recently, she started taking advantage of the little bits of apple, pea pods, or corn that I slip into her bowl. She is aging, and maybe her taste buds have changed.
I received a donation of a bunch of bird tents over the summer. My lovebird Jake sleeps in a tent, as does Wraith, an Indian Ringneck. I wondered if Dani could use a tent if I made sure it sat on the cage bottom.
I waited for the weather to grow cooler, and using a long chain threaded through the top of the tent, I managed to get it into the right place. On the first day, Dani hung in her usual corner, but kept her eye on the strange green thing in her world. But as night came on, she went down and looked it over. Eventually, she crawled in.
I leave the house in the morning while it’s still dark out these days. Dani has been staying in bed and just calling to me as I left. With the tent, I don’t think she even notices that I am leaving. In fact, I had to check with Mike to makes sure she was still with us.
In a perfect world, Maynard, Io, Bobo, and Dani would all live together, groom each other, and be happier birds. In this world, we strive to make them as happy and comfortable as we can.
Next week, I’ll look at bird bonding and how crazy it can get when a human who can’t tell males from females is doing the pairing.