Bo and Jessie and Io

I’m a huge fan of African gray parrots for their personalities and intelligence. My ideal parrot would be a Congo African Gray that was young and willing to learn new things. I’ve put this word out to the Universe many times. I did have a Timneh African Gray for a few months, Jordan. And I got to hand feed a baby CAG who I called Digger and his eventual family named Alex. Yes, Alex from Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s research study. That may even be the source of my own fondness for these creatures.

090819 alex and me

About 8 years ago, I adopted two CAGs about whom I have written extensively. Bo Dangles, called Bobo or Bo, was the victim of her parents’ misplaced aggression and has no toes. Blind Io is, well, blind. He’s not very tame because he gets extremely upset when things are rearranged. He went into something like a seizure when a friend touched him when he didn’t know she was there. I fed him water from a syringe for two days until he returned to his normal self.


Unhappu Io.mp4_snapshot_00.11_[2016.07.08_20.59.39]
Blind Io

If you can’t tell, I love these two birds. They entertain us each in their own way. Then a friend passed away and her husband wasn’t in good health. He begged me to take in their parrot. A perfectly healthy CAG named Jessie. Jess, the new girl.

She doesn’t talk to us, although I understand that she can talk a lot. She makes fart noises mostly. She steps up onto my hand, loves to get head scritches, and is head-over-tail-feathers in love with Io. Shortly after joining our group, she laid some eggs. No, there was no chance they were fertile.


bobo clean


I said I would take Jessie as long as my flock didn’t have a problem with her. At first, everything was good. And there isn’t anywhere to return her to now. Both her original parents have passed away. So I am working to make the other two happy to have her around.

I did attempt to put Io and Bobo in the same cage when we first got them. Bo is a little devil and chased Io around, plucking him. He screamed and whined and so that didn’t work. The smarter the birds, the harder it is to bend them to our will. Still, they have had cages next to each other over the years and probably are now adapted to being neighbors.




Jess is indifferent about Bo, but she tries every night to get over to Io. I have her step up before I shut off the lights each night and take her with me to say goodnight. Tron the sun conure is the first stop, not a lot of interest from Jess. Then Bo, who lets me scratch her through her cage bars, all the while giving Jess the evil eye. Finally, Io who chirps and calls to Jess and she chirps and calls back.

Due to Io’s track record of injuring other birds, I am hesitant to put Jess in with him. I am not the least interested in letting them have chicks. We don’t know why he’s blind, and don’t want that to possibly be transmitted to his offspring. But to have a companion for him would give me a lot of joy.


The waiting begins
Blind Io


Sometime after Jessie arrived, Bo stopped coming out of her cage. Our routine four days every week was for her to walk out on a platform that I was holding, carefully lower her onto the floor, and let her scoot around and explore the world. After a couple hours, I would scoop her up on the platform and return her to her cage which had been miraculously cleaned, a fresh towel on the shelf, food, water, and some treats in bowls.


Jessie and what’s left of a cardboard box


The last time she was out, she didn’t want to go back in. She had realized she could climb over the barrier that kept her from chewing on Mike’s desk and documents. Bo wanted to taste more freedom and sample more wood. I believe I forced her onto the platform a little too vigorously. She made a rare sound of pain, and ever since, has not accepted my offer for her to leave her cage.

081416 cropped bobo
Bo Dangles

Between that indignity and a new girl in town who is stealing Io’s attention, Bo Dangles is not a happy camper. My fingers are crossed that this will all settle down and become a thing of the past. Amazingly, not much in my life is ever easy. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.

2 thoughts on “Bo and Jessie and Io

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