Many of them can be loud; making messes is a big part of their daily activity; biting is a form of communication for them. These behaviors are often the reason so many birds end of in shelters and rescues. January is Adopt a Rescued Bird Month. I share my life with 2 adopted parrots and love what they bring to my life. Throughout the month, some members from Avian Avenue (my favorite bird forum) will be sharing some of their adoption stories along with tips on adopting.
To start off, I thought I would share my 2 adopted birds with with you.
I was going to be finishing up school and had always wanted a bird. Knowing I was going to have the time to dedicate to one I began doing research by reading and joining some forums online. Then I found Suerto on Petfinder. He was listed as a conure, but I knew he was a mini Macaw, a Hahns Macaw as I found out. The shelter was about an hour away, but I managed to be there waiting for them to open the next morning. I quickly located him in the cat and checked him out. From his picture on Petfinder, I knew he was plucked, but looks didn’t matter to me. After finishing the paperwork, we made our way home with him chattering all the way.
It’s actually been 3 years this month since I adopted Suerto and he has settled in great. While his feathers haven’t grown back (and most likely won’t at this point due to damaged follicles), he hasn’t plucked any other areas. He can be a big biter, but over time I’ve learned his triggers and body language so can usually avoid the bite. He is loud, very loud. When he gets going the dogs shake and the rabbit stamps her feet. I joke that he is trying to call his relatives in South America, but that has gotten to be less by knowing what triggers it (like that fact that it is after 7pm and a few minutes past his bedtime.) Those behaviors might turn people off, but life and love is about compromise. I love hearing him make his noises like his happy screeches when he’s eating his dinner, his soft clucking noises when he goes to bed in his hanging sleeping house or his kissy sounds and “are you a pretty bird” when he lays his head against my cheek. Compromise is worth it.
I’ve always loved African Greys. There is just something so solemn and wise about them that draws me to them. I had been thinking about adopting another parrot and decided it would be a Grey. I learned about a rescue, A Helping Wing, a few hours away in New York on one of the forums I joined that sounded like a great place to adopt a bird from. I filled out an application from their site and emailed it to them. They responded to let me know they didn’t have any Greys in, but I let them know I wasn’t in a hurry. I was surprised a few days later when they contacted me to let me know they had gotten some Greys from another rescue that had gotten more birds then it could handle. I drove up to meet them and see if I connected with one.
Roca (known as Roscoe at the time, she was thought to be a boy) was the first one I met and we clicked. She gave me a soft “Hello” when she first stepped onto my hand and then lowered her head for scratches. She had me at Hello. I went back for one more visit to make sure we were still a good match, then Roca came home with me.
Roca is a very sweet bird. She rarely bites (and if she does, it’s your fault). She is quiet. She says “Hello” and “Hi” with an occasional “up”. She can whine and woof like a dog, give kisses, pretend she’s a microwave or the answering machine beep, and she recently learned how to meow. Where she really shines is her whistling, which makes me insanely jealous because I can’t whistle at all.
Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, Roca barbers her feathers and occasionally plucks so we work on keeping her busy. She started plucking feathers around her neck a few weeks ago which coincided with me getting up earlier (which meant she was up earlier since her main cage is in the living room). Fortunately, keeping her in her cage in the birdroom for the night where she could get more sleep stopped that behavior. At about 20 years old, it’s a hard habit to break. It’s the only thing I would change about Rocabird, in every other way she’s the perfect bird for me.
Along with sharing their adoption stories, I asked that each contributor share a tip for anyone thinking about adopting a bird.
My tip is to research. An African Grey is not a Macaw is not a Cockatoo is not a parakeet. Each species has it’s own characteristics and behaviors, some which might not fit into your household (or budget). If you’re interested in a particular species, read about people living with them on a forum to get an idea of what your life might be. But remember each bird is an individual. African Greys are known for their talking ability, but not all Greys talk. Roca says 3 words. It doesn’t matter I love her for being Roca, not because she can talk.
This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. Be sure to check out some of the other Pet Bloggers around the web.