I re-home or rescue my parrots. It’s something that I strongly believe in. Healthy baby parrots will almost always find a home, but the ones that have been given up, often because of behavioral problems, might not be so lucky. The feeling of accomplishment and pride I have felt when the parrot finally gives in to trust is unlike any other. Still, there have been a couple of babies that have more than caught my eye.
The pet store where I get some of my supplies specializes in parrots. They are locally owned so I try to support them. Every now and again I walk in and hear: “Patty, we have some babies. Come see!” I can feel myself tense up, wondering if this will be the day that I give in and drop my rent money on a down payment for a new parrot. I’m pretty good at resisting.
About a year ago, I went in and was introduced to a baby greenwing macaw. He was a ball of flesh and prickly new feathers. There was just something about him. I went in to see him every couple of days. After a few weeks he was feathering out into the most glorious parrot and was beginning to show his personality. He would call to greet me as soon as I walked in the shop. He would make a baby-like “grrrp” sound apparently only for me. I was completely taken with him, and he was with me. When I was with him and someone entered the room, he would hide his little head under his wing until they left and he would start “grrrp-ing” again. I found myself pricing their macaw cages.
Around this same time my umbrella cockatoo, Linus, became ill. Since we weren’t sure of the nature of his illness or its contagiousness, and because the vet bill were piling up, I decided that it was not right to bring another bird into my home. He was eventually sold and I worried for him, hoping that he’d found a good home.
About two months ago, I was in the shop and a lady came in wearing a beautiful green wing on her arm. I noticed him watching everything I did. I heard a “grrrp” and I almost fell over. After quizzing the lady, I found out that she had bought him there and the dates matched up. He had found a wonderful, doting home and I was very happy for him (and her). She said she had never heard him make that sound before, he remembered me.
I have a friend who runs a rescue in New Mexico. One of her greatest talents, aside from rehabbing and socializing her rescues, is the knack for finding just the right home for them. She, in part, leaves the decision to the parrot. They have their likes and dislikes just as we do. She will carefully screen her clients, try to get a feel for the type person they are and what their home life is like so she can match a parrot’s personality to the lifestyle of the client, but if the parrot doesn’t like the person, it’s a deal breaker. I know a number of people that go to see her planning on taking, say, an african grey, and wind up leaving with a macaw just because the macaw fell in love with them. How do you say no to a needy parrot that is doing cartwheels to get you to take him home?
This is not to say that you can’t have a wonderful relationship with an initially indifferent parrot. But what better way to start a relationship than love at first sight?
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.
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