Posted Mar 28, 2015
I purchased Chinook for my husband as a birthday gift. He kept telling me he wanted a conure, but not one of the noisy sun conures, so we picked Chinook out of a small clutch of four baby birds and visited the pet store every week to handle him until he was ready to come home at about three months old.
Once we got him home we started handling him every day to get him used to it. We have one other bird, so we had been through the drill before. Since we had been visiting him for so long, he was already used to us to a certain degree, but it still took a while for him to get used to his new surroundings. After a week or so, he seemed to be acclimated and doing well.
One thing about juvenile birds that I found out through experience is some of them go through a phase where they will bite and nip, and Chinook surely did. For about a month it seemed he would try to bite or nip anyone who was handling him. Unfortunately, this caused my son and daughter to stop handling him, which in turn means he doesn't trust them and will still try to bite them even today if they try to pick him up or do anything more than hand him a treat.
Chinook is not a very loud bird and he does speak. When he speaks, his voice is very gravelly sounding, so it is sometimes hard to understand him, but he can say "gimme kiss", "what are you doing?", and "outside" to name a few. He will also 'laugh' when he hears one of us laughing or someone on the television laughing. If he sees me kiss the other bird or someone else in the house he will make a loud kissing noise.
Chinook is very friendly and loves to be with me or my husband. As I write this he is sitting on my shoulder making kissing sounds while nibbling on my ear. He does not, however, enjoy being petted. There have only been a handful of times I have been able to pet him for any length of time. He doesn't bite or anything, he simply ducks out of the way if you try to pet him. Dancing, on the other hand, is his favorite thing to do. If you start singing to him he will start dancing. If you start dancing, he will start dancing. If you just say the word "dance" he will start dancing. If you put your finger in front of him and move it around, he will start dancing. You get the picture.
My biggest complaint with my conure is his poop. He poops anywhere. You can't trust him to not poop on your shoulder or hand if you are handling him. This may seem silly, but my other bird doesn't poop on anyone he's resting on, he will get up and go poop on his stand. I can't seem to get Chinook to do that, and not realizing you have bird poop on you can be embarrassing. Whenever any of us handle him we have someone do a spot check on us before we go out or we just change our clothes to be on the safe side.
My conure is a great source of entertainment in my house, we all love to watch him dance, blow kisses, and talk/laugh. I can't really take credit for training him to do these things, it was just something he picked up on. He doesn't know any real tricks other than step up, which is a must for any bird.
He does seem to be quite intelligent, for example he seems to know what a kiss is because he will start yelling to give him a kiss when he sees someone kissing. He knows the word dance, and as soon as you open the door to go outside he starts screaming "outside!!" He's also very affectionate in his own way. He may not like being petted, but he loves to sit on your shoulder and snuggle up against your face. He likes to give kisses, but they occasionally hurt. He has always been very healthy, and his diet is pretty standard.
In my opinion, green cheek conures are good birds for novices. They are easy to take care of, very affectionate, playful, and small enough to not be intimidating, which also means their bite isn't very painful. They are also quite beautiful and come in a variety of different colors.