Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
By David Gale
Florida, United States
Posted Nov 02, 2011
Charley came to me as a rescue bird. Her former owners ran a fruit stand near by and they bought the bird to attract customers. They were not interested in having a pet bird. When their fruit stand went out of business they contacted me after hearing that I was a "bird person". I had previously been owned by a timneh african grey that had recently passed away and some conures which I took in and placed in new homes.
I agreed to take Charley in and had every intention of passing her on to a good home.
This was not to be. Charley came to be without any idea of what it was like to be a pet. She did not want to be touched, handled or bothered. She stayed in her cage even when the door was left open and would not accept foods offered unless they were placed in her dish. It was immediately obvious to me that I couldn't give this bird to anyone but an experienced bird trainer. So... Our life together began then.
I worked with Charley over the course of two years. It took 1 year to get her to trust me enough to take food from my hand and to learn the all important Step Up. In the beginning it was a steep uphill effort. There was some painful bites. There was blood. But, with a whole lot of patience and even more love and sympathy she slowly began to understand that there was more to life than staring out a window from inside her cage.
During her third year with me she really "got it" I worked with her daily and she became eager to learn several tricks. This is also the year she started laying eggs. She layed a dozen eggs between november and february to the point I became so concerned that I took her to the exotic bird hospital in jacksonville for a checkup. Everything was fine... Charley had simply fallen in love with me and I with her. She layer her eggs during our nightly TV time.. she would do a special dance, her nose would run and she would produce a sizable egg with a grunt.
Obviously this bird was now a member of the family and placing her in a home was no longer an option. She has been with me for 6 years now and is every bit of the loving pet you might expect from someone who has hand raised a bird.
Charley now spends most of her time out of her cage, makes frequent visits to my office and allows perfect strangers to pick her up. She no longer bites at the first sign of trouble and instead gives people fair warning when they have exceeded her comfort level.
You can certainly understand from my review that owning a rescue parrot can be a real challenge. You should also be aware that BIRDS ARE MESSY. Big birds are REALLY MESSY. This is a very important thing to know before considering bringing a bird into your family. Also, Big birds have big bites. It's like a pretty stuffed toy with a chainsaw on it's face. You must respect the animal.
You must also understand that birds require A LOT of attention. It's not like a kitten or a puppy. When the newness wears off, they still expect to receive the attention you showered it with in the beginning. And if you stop that attention they will become sullen and withdrawn.