I came to birds late in my life, so I don’t feel comfortable with hand raising and keeping parrots that will outlive me. Cockatiels and budgies and finches are no problem right now, though the day will come when I will not be breeding any longer. So I am thrilled to have this chance to care for five young parrots for a week.
Let me introduce you to them, smallest to largest. The smallest baby with the biggest personality is green cheek conure. This little one is weaned, but my friend felt since it just weaned the day before she was packing up to leave on vacation, that this one could benefit from being with a hand feeder just in case. You can see the devilish glint in this one’s eyes, and any time I take it out of the cage, it will be off exploring. All the babies have their wings clipped, but they still manage a bit of lift and distance. So far, this chick hasn’t gotten into any trouble.
Next is a pair of white eye conures, siblings who are going to the same home and who get along really well. One is weaned, the other still “bobs” to ask for food. Once I start feeding “Bob,” all the babies want a taste, at least. It’s fun to have all of them out at the same time, but watching that many toddlers can get frantic.
Irene is a double yellow headed Amazon parrot, just like my Maynard. He could not be less interested in her. All he knows is that she is causing me to be out of his sight a couple times per day. I have most of the babies in the back bird room, and Irene has a voice that sounds just like Maynard. If I stand in the hallway, I can hear them both calling me, in stereo. I know I am weird, but it makes me laugh.
I can see how smart Irene is in the way she stops and looks at things before she does anything. She can step up, but she would rather not for me. I know she will be happy to have her real momma back. She says “Hi!” whenever I even walk past the room. She’s just adorable, but very strong willed.
That Amazon growl for her is all bluff. She hasn’t done any biting and will let me pick her up by putting my hands over her wings. She loves to try to fly, and has such powerful wings that she would easily clear my chair. But as I am sitting in it, she ends up being caught and put back on the table.
Last but not least is my admitted favorite of the bunch. This little African grey is destined to be a therapy bird for a cancer survivor. I could write a whole post on him or her. He (let’s just go with that) was showing signs of anxiety at my friend’s house, and would scream for a long time if his brooding box was touched or moved. He seems to have grown out of that.
I have him next to my desk in my office, and he’s very distracting. I reach over and play with him or pet him all day long. He’s too cute and very smart. He is where my female CAG, Bobo, can see him, and she is fascinated. I believe seeing an adult grey has helped the baby calm down. He’s progressed from a brooder to a real cage, and it certainly feels like moving a child from a crib to a big boy’s bed.
This little one has learned to perch and is eating on his own, but not enough yet. There is a long way to go with muscle coordination and ability. He has not tried to fly, not once. But he does climb up to the side of the cage and have a good flapping session a few times per day. He barely makes any sounds here, but he does listen closely when my greys are vocalizing, and sometimes I see him trying out something in the way he moves his tongue.
I will miss these darlings, I really will, when they go home. And while there will be a grey hole in my heart for a while, I have no doubt he will go on to a much better life with his eventual companion.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.