There’s an amazing feeling you get when you have been repeating a story told to you years ago and suddenly, unexpectedly, you come face to face with proof that the story is true. I’m still hoping to find a newspaper article with more details, but that’s hampered by not knowing the date of the incident. Let me back up a bit and tell you about the person I met who knew my Double Yellow-headed Amazon parrot, Maynard, back in the day.
I had an email to the bird club account asking if I could find someone who would be able to help towel some parrots while the own clipped their nails. Since the loss of A Bird Haven in Escondido, we bird owners have been desperate for that service. I said that I could help her out and in return, perhaps she could help me with my birds. We made arrangements to meet and found out we lived very close to each other.
I arrived at the appointed time and met Cheryl, who then introduced me to her flock. She used to run a rescue for parrots and all the birds she has now are the remaining ones that won’t do anywhere now. They are with her to stay. The majority are cockatoos, many different types, but all the ones that are scarred visibly or invisibly from their origins with humans. I held Apollo, Peaches, and China while their nails were trimmed. The first two each have only one leg. Cheryl has taught them to lay down when they need to take the weight off that one foot.
As we worked, we talked about my crazy flock. Cheryl used to belong to the same bird club I now do. I don’t remember her but it’s likely we were at the same meetings some of the time. We talked about my special needs African Grays and my crazy Amazon, Maynard. She stopped what she was doing and looked at me, a strange expression on her face. “I rescued an Amazon named Maynard a while ago. He was confiscated by the DEA during a drug bust. He was in bad shape and the county shelter asked me to take him in.”
Wow. I had been told by Fred, the man who gave Maynard to me, that the parrot had belonged to a drug dealer when he was young. Cheryl and I agreed it had to be the same bird. She’s the missing link between the drug dealer and the woman who had him next. She mentioned that the woman wasn’t returning her calls and she wondered why.
The rest of Maynard’s story, according to what I had been told, was that the woman got tired of Maynard’s obnoxious ways and gave the bird to her sister. The sister kept him as long as she could stand it but was at Bird Haven when Fred said that he liked Maynard. She gave the bird to him then and there. Her problems were solved.
Fred was known as a parrot whisperer around the club. He was able to deal with a lot of birds that no one else could handle. He took Maynard everywhere and became close to a family that lived in the same apartment complex as he did. The family fell in love with Maynard and asked Fred to sell him to them. Fred gave them the bird happily. Like me, he encouraged future aviculturists like the kids in the family. All was well for a couple years, then the family welcomed a new baby.
The new baby couldn’t sleep through Maynard’s screaming sessions. The family regretfully returned him to Fred. At this time, Fred knew his days were numbered. He had terminal brain cancer, so he needed to find a permanent home for Maynard. He brought the bird to the next club meeting and the rest is history. Maynard fell in love with me, I loved his crazy stuff, and we have gone on along for enough years like this to make the best of all that comes with the parrot. And now, I know that the story about his early years is true.
I’m hoping to have Cheryl come over to my house and trim toenails for my birds. I hope so much that Maynard will recognize her and remember how she saved his life by taking him out of the shelter and giving him good food and love. I’m sure you will get an update down the road on how things go. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.