Bonding with Avian Companions

Ever since Maynard, my Double Yellow-headed Amazon parrot came into my life, I have marveled at our bond. Not that I’ve never been bonded with a parrot before this, but never with one who talks back to me.

Sunny, my female sun conure, holds the position of first close bond I had with a parrot. I’d had a disappointment with Zazu, the male sun conure given up to me from someone I talked to on-line. The bird loved Mike, and so defended him from me. Sunny came to the first bird mart I chaired for my bird club. She arrived with the Free Flight staff, one of several parrots available for adoption.

I put out my hand, and she stepped up without even being asked. She started a feeding behavior against my thumb, and I fell in love. With a little juggling of finances, we were able to pay the adoption fee and take her home. She spent the entire day at the bird mart sitting on my shoulder and making cute noises. No one could believe she hadn’t been with me for years and years.

She and Zazu got along very well, and are still bonded to each other. Sunny’s bonding with me continued until I brought Jake home, at which time she though I had lost my mind. He attacked her, she attacked him, and I had to make a choice. Sunny had Zazu at least. Jake would not tolerate another bird in his cage or around me.

Jake took at least a day or two to bond with me. He was bred by a good friend from the bird club, and purchased by a woman with two teenage daughters. In all the time he lived with them, he almost never got confined to his cage. The girls handled him, played with him, fed him, and snuggled with him. He became the center of the universe for that family. Sadly, the woman lost her job and then her home. She had to move into an apartment, where no pets were allowed. She returned Jake to my friend, and so my friend put him on the opportunity table at the club. My ticket held the luck that night, and Jake came home with me.

I love to have him out in the mornings, and he loves to share my oatmeal or apple. When his wing feathers grew back in, he loved to fly around with the other love birds and chase them away from me. With his wings clipped, he will stubbornly make his way to the floor and walk to wherever I am or he wants to be. Jake will sit on my shoulder for hours, preening and sometimes sleeping. In cool weather, he will burrow under my shirt. And he cannot talk without fluttering his wings and tail. So cute.

The two bad habits he has are biting and not coming to step up when he knows you want to put him in his cage. The first one will usually cause the second one. He had a third bad habit when he came to me, in that he was only a year old and wanted to mate with my hand. I would immediately turn my hand upside down, and he had to stop to move somewhere that didn’t slope. He only tries to do this now at the beginning of spring, for the most part.

One of the cutest things he does is take a bath in the kitchen sink. I have to keep my hand in the sink, so he can climb up and out if he wants to. I never knew the smell of wet feathers could be as bad as wet dog smell. But he’s so happy when he gets a bath, he doesn’t seem to realize that he only moistened the tips of his wings, his tummy, and his legs and tail.

Creamsicle, called Creamy, is a truly awesome cockatiel. I bred him in my aviary, and had a friend hand feed him. When he came back home, he was destined to go on the opportunity table. Since he was a sweetheart of a bird, I held him back for the February drawing. By then, Mike had fallen in love with him and didn’t want to let him go. I had not been paid in advance for the bird, so there was no issue in keeping him with us.

I have mentioned before that Creamy has the softest feathers I have ever felt on a cockatiel. He likes to sit on shoulders, and likes to investigate ears. He likes to serenade us with the songs of his people. He is such a delight and such a rare treat. And even though we don’t let him out of the cage very often, due to several factors, he stays sweet and bonded to us. Unbelievable.

Here are some links for more information about –

Love birds: http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/birdinformation/lovebirds.php

Cockatiels: http://www.cockatielcottage.net/basics.html

And sun conures: http://lafeber.com/pet-birds/species/sun-conure/

Have a good week, I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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