Jake and Maynard: A Hate Story

Birds can be very territorial. One of the reasons Quaker parrots are so unusual is that they nest in huge communities and get along well with others. Lovebirds and Amazons, not so much.

I have been amazingly lucky when throwing birds in together for whatever reasons. My husband and I got home late after an exhausting day of running a bird mart, years ago. The best thing about the day had been finding Sunny, my sun conure, who loved me from day one. Okay, before I make you think I am a special conure whisperer, Sunny loves everyone. So in she went with our other sun conure, Zazu, who only liked Mike. Sunny let Zazu dominate her and push her around, and these days they have a wonderful relationship.

I also had three lovebirds in one cage because I don’t like to have a single bird if I can avoid it. They are flock animals, and a companion is needed if they aren’t going to get out time with a person.

When Beeby came to live with us, he was such an aggressive bird, I thought we’d never find a companion for him. He’s a half-moon conure who started out liking me, hating Mike, but soon decided I wasn’t all that great either. I took in a green cheek conure that we named Esme, and on a whim, put her in with Beeby. Did you know that green cheeks can be pretty darn aggressive? She’s so funny with him, always trying to prevent him from biting us. They are a great pair together.

But other times, it’s not destined to be. Jake came into my life after a sad incident with his first family. They lost their home and had to rehome their lovebird. He fit right into my life for the most part, but didn’t get along with Sunny. He wanted my attention to himself, and attacked her whenever he could. So then I had to have separate out times for them. Whenever I fed the birds, Jake would come along to quality sample the water, the sunflower seeds, and the other delicacies provided. Soon everyone in the flock hated him.

Jake loves his out time so he can go to the bird room or the living room and taunt the birds that are not having out time. He’s such a brat. He has a good relationship with his downstairs neighbor, Bo Dangles. She’s always inviting him to “Come ‘ere!” and a time or two has actually allowed him to groom her head. He’s stopped trying to bite her, so there’s a ray of sunshine there.

Enter Maynard. I don’t want to say Maynard hates everyone. There’s not that psycho aggression in his eyes that we see in Beeby’s. But he has chosen me, and feels driven to protect me from everyone. Every person. Every bird. Every living thing.

I attempted to give both Jake and Maynard out time together, hoping they could learn to ignore each other. No way. Jake will not go away and leave Maynard alone. And as soon as Jake is within reach, Maynard lunges for him.

A year has gone by since Maynard first arrived, and I tried again. Maybe Jake has gotten over his aggression towards the bigger parrot. And maybe I can win the lotto without buying a ticket. Jake headed straight for Maynard’s “cave” under my desk, chirping and carrying on like David going after Goliath. Oh, well. At this time, there is no peace in sight. Just a sort of demilitarized zone at my desk, where only one bird can be out at a time.

Keep smiling, and I’ll be back on Thursday.

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