If you are new to my blog, let me introduce my double yellow Amazon, Maynard. He’s around 30 years old and I am at least the 7th person to provide him with a home. I believe he will be with me for the rest of his life. That is my hope. He was shuffled around so much because 1.) the original purchaser didn’t know much about keeping birds, 2.) people tend to dislike being lunged at and possibly bitten when he had been nice a few minutes ago, and 3.) he’s too noisy to keep around anyone who needs to sleep during the day, like small children. Oh, and 4.) the man who gave him to me died less than a year later.
You may be asking yourself why I would put up with a cranky, stinky, noisy, and messy creature. Leave my husband out of this. (Just kidding, honey! You’re only noisy at night.) When Maynard first came to live with me, he was madly in love and wanted to be with me all the time. He had run of the house for a couple hours every day until the damage to the woodwork became too obvious. And when I got a dog, whom he bit at their first introduction, I had to stop giving him so much out time. For my own sanity.
Before that change, however, Maynard showed that a bird of his age could act just like a 4-year-old child. While scouting around the living room, he disappeared from sight and was being very quiet. I took much longer than I should have to realize minutes had passed and I didn’t know where my bird was. I called for him and he answered with a noise that means, “Go away, I’m busy!” He was in the front bathroom with the light off.
I turned on the light and found that he had crawled up the shelves over the toilet, moved across to the vanity and the sink, and was admiring himself in the mirror. “Pretty bird! Hi, Maynard,” he told me as I got the perch and moved him out of that room. Maynard will not step up for me unless he’s really scared, and even then, he will probably bite me. He lets me place kisses on his back but no stepping up.
Maynard’s eyesight might not be as good as one would expect. Either that or he is unable to adjust to small changes in his human. If I wash my hair, the attacks me like I am a total stranger. Hissing and flapping wings are involved. However, when I take him into the shower with me and he sees the transformation, no problem. He can make the connection. Likewise, if I wear my hair down most of the time and then put it up, Maynard thinks I’m a parrot-killing housebreaker who needs to be shown a lesson. I have a great video of him attacking my ponytail from the back of my chair. Summer has just finished up in Southern California, so I am wearing my hair down more often. After two weeks of getting used to the change, if I put it up now, he’s determined to kill that thing on my head.
Maynard is a wonderful screamer. Things that set him off are me eating anything I haven’t shared with him, me going outside without him (He has his own outside cage to sit in. Poor neighbors), someone he doesn’t know coming in, my husband not getting up in the morning (Mike feeds Maynard a bit of toast from his breakfast on weekdays in the hope he can convince the bird to like him. So far it’s merely addicted Maynard to sourdough), and the wind making anything move outside that should not be moving. Like tree branches and window shades. And when he can’t see me, if we are outside and I go into the aviary. The best trick to get him to stop screaming and make a nicer noise is for me to sing at him. Pretty soon he starts singing the few lines of some song I can’t identify. The key words are, “Oh, baby!” and “Whoaoaoa!” We do a pretty passable rendition of James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend.
He has often made very appropriate comments at times, but more often he rudely interrupts my phone calls by shouting and saying, “Bye-bye!” One morning, he got his toast from Mike and was cheerfully ripping it up and eating a bit of it. I guess he got to a point where he was done. I heard the toast hit the bottom of the cage, and Maynard said, “Bye-bye!” I hope to have at least 20 more years of screams, interrupted phone calls, and ponytail attacks with this sweet doofus of a bird. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.