Posted Dec 12, 2013
Flipper was given to me by a friend, it was a small bird caught in the wild. I assume it was only a few months or so, we didn't know much about its biology but we did know it was male. A small green parrot (Blue-Fronted-Amazon) that was very reserved and withdrawn when he first arrived. There were blue feathers on its forehead above the beak and yellow on its face and crown. Beneath his wings was a lovely rainbow of reds and blues. We did not have a cage for him at the time so he lived in the house, where ever. It took him about 9 days to warm up to the family, being stroked and held and played with. We left water out for him in a bowl but he was not trained enough to know he was to drink from it so he usually found his own source. When his cage arrived it was the hardest thing to get him in, but he eventually got in. I thought he would've hated it and rebelled but instead he jumped, tossed, swung, danced and sang. My mom tied a sippie-cup in his cage and he devoured it with the utmost enthusiasm as it swayed. He was a funny bird, with chimpanzee like characteristics always climbing on the sides of the cage, many times you would find him hanging from the roof of the cage he would poke his head inside his cup and hide if he felt he wanted some “alone time”, he would swing from his sticks, from the top to the bottom, much like an acrobat, it was due to this behavior why he got the name flipper. Eventually we got him a bigger cage so he could master all his antics, more sticks, more room for his swinging cup, and two levels of feeding (upper and lower). Flippers diet consisted mainly of seeds, grains, peppers and water. All of which resulted in a very “messy” cage, his cage flooring was lined with news paper so his waste/mess could be easily disposed of, this change was necessary at least twice per day and the whole cage was washed and sanitized at least once per week. Removing him from his cage was extremely hard and putting him back was equally as complicated. He pecked, clawed, scratched, screamed and squirmed. He was very rebellious and insisted on having things done his way. If you put your hand in the cage expecting him to just jump on your fingers like any normal bird he would look at your hand queerly and peck it then jump on your fore arm. If you placed him on your shoulder and expected him to stay there obediently he would climb on top of your head or clutch on to your chest dangling from your shirt. He wasn't very trained and it was hard to get him to conform. Flipper was a healthy bird, with a shiny coat, beautiful and full feathers, sharp beak and claws. As he got older he started to “learn” how to fly, so we began clipping his wings. He hated that; mother would have to wrap him in a towel exposing only his head and wing that needed grooming. Once he flew away and we thought we lost him forever but he we later found him in my mother’s hedging sleeping. Flipper’s vocals were strong; he made lots of chirping noises and during the days but slept peacefully during the nights (which were great for us). For awhile we thought he was incapable of mimicking sounds/words but then we later found out that often times we heard “MOMMY!”, “COLLEEN!”, “YES!”, “ROMEO”, a dog barking or a whistle it was him! That was the most exciting thing about flipper watching the intriguing phenomenon of a talking bird! We had flipper for awhile, about four years and just when he was becoming a part of the family he was stolen right out of his cage off my veranda. It was an awful struggle, the sound of his angry screams, defensive squawks and ear splitting cries woke me from my slumber that morning. The last thing I remember him saying was “MOMMY!” I knew it was a horrible fight with his bird-napper because feathers where all over the tiles.