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COMPANION AUSTRAL-ASIAN PARROT STORIES

 

Includes Eclectus, Lories, Ringneck Family Parrots
Cockatoos have their own story  pages. 
As most readers know, I love hearing stories about parrots and I love to tell them! I will add more stories to this section of the website. If you have a great parrot story, I would love to read it!
 

BEST OF SHOW:
THE JUDGE SHOULD HAVE SEEN HER 5 MINUTES BEFORE


By Sally Blanchard


One Gorgeous Lory
Several years ago when lived in the mid-west, I attended a bird show. At the last minute, I looked at a Red Lory that I was keeping and thought how gorgeous she was. I quickly grabbed an extra cage and took her to be judged. I had “rescued” Gypsy several months before and had worked diligently to tame her and improve her diet. She had been on a sunflower seed diet. She was one of the “temporary” birds that I brought into my life. I would tame them, improve their diet and health and find them a better home. By the time I arrived at the bird show, Gypsy, being a “typical” Lory had rolled around in the bottom of the cage getting her tail and wings caught in the grate. Her feathers were soiled and raggedy. She looked horrible!

Still a Chance?
About that time, a friend came in with a cage that was really too small for his parrot but would work perfectly for Gypsy. We traded cages. I realized that if I could get Gypsy cleaned up, I might still be able to put her in the show. I took her into the rest room and gently placed her under the faucet. This high energy excitable lory actually loved to get under running water. To increase the complication, this was one of those faucets that I had to keep turning on to keep it running. Then I had a dripping wet ‘wound-up” lory. With great caution, I held her under the electric hand dryer moving her back and forth until her feathers were dry. I had to keep turning that on also. This hotel restroom wasn’t just for the people from the bird show; there was a wedding going on and women in fancy dresses kept giving me the strangest looks. At the last possible moment, I placed Gypsy in her waiting cage on the judging table. When the hookbill judge walked by, Gypsy was still strutting from her bath and her feathers looked beautiful. Evidently the judge agreed with me; Gypsy won Best of Show (She beat out the first caique I ever saw)

THE SAGA OF SAM & MARY

By Mary Dodd Brashear

“Derbyan parrots are pretty birds, but they aren’t smart.”

This is what I heard the woman say as she kept the African grey and sold me the Derbyan parrot. I didn’t expect smartness, so Sam became part of my bird family of Timneh greys and Hawkheads.

The 4th of July proved to be a great event in Sam’s life. A firecracker was thrown into our yard which panicked all the birds, as well as me. Sam screamed and flew into a sliding screen door. He managed to wedge the door open, hop across the yard, and fly at a low level down the block. Even though his primary wing feathers were trimmed, he was able to get lift from his long tail feathers. I was unable to keep up with him and lost him into the night. The next day I placed an ad in the paper saying “Rare Derbyan parrot lost. His name is Sam. Reward. Call Mary (phone #)” I also posted sheets with his description on poles in a 2 mile radius of the house.

I only received one call in answer to the ad, 2 days later. The woman asked me to describe my bird. I told her he was very rare, with a red-orange beak, purple face and black moustache, purple chest, and brilliant green back and wings. I said he might say his name, Sam, and my name, Mary. She laughed and said that she wished she could keep the bird, but that this must really be my bird. Sam had waddled into their house by way of glass sliding doors, jumped up on to her couch and said, “Hi, I’m Sam, Where s Mary.”

When the woman brought him over, Sam leaped onto my shoulder, stretched his beak out to talk, and said “Mary, I Love You.” I cried and was so happy to see him again. Sam has been talking in full phrases ever
He tells me he is “Smart Sam!”

 
BIG BROTHER TO THE RESCUE

By Toni West

I share my life with five wonderful parrots: a hen African Grey (Abby), a male Eclectus (Elliott), a hen White- front Amazon (Gracie) and 2 male Rose Breasted Cockatoos (Josh and Benji). Abby and Elliott have adored each other from the first moment they set eyes on each other. While Abby is two months older than Elliott, Elliott has always acted as the “big brother.” He watches out for all the rest of the flock and often lets me know if something isn’t quite right.

When Gracie first came to live with us, she would intently watch Abby and Elliott preen and play together. She has the exact same hatch date as Elliott, but she joined us after Abby and Elliott had been together for over a year and found gaining acceptance was going to be a chore. Within a couple of weeks, little Gracie had that big green bird, Elliott wrapped around her toe and I would regularly find the two of them together. Abby still got her share of Elliott’s attention, but like a typical African Grey she often would rather sit up high and just watch what was going on. So Elliott and Gracie became fast friends and started playing together quite a bit. They often share toys and food, passing an item back and forth between their beaks just as gently as can be. This is sometimes quite comical to watch, for Elliott is the largest bird in the house and Gracie is the smallest.
 
All my birds are fully flighted so when they are out I watch their interactions quite carefully. I am often counting birds and figuring out who is missing and asking where someone is. Usually it is Abby, for she can seem to hide quite well in plain view. One of the cockatoos’ favorite sayings has become “Where’s Abby?” One of the reasons I am often looking for Abby is because she likes to terrorize Gracie. If she is in the mood for chasing, she will follow Gracie from cage top, to cage top, to play stand, causing Gracie to quickly flutter off to the next available place to land.
 
The other day I was cleaning cages and all the birds were out. They each have special places they like to play, so I can usually glance around the room and find each bird’s location pretty quickly. I noticed that Abby was chasing Gracie from one cage to another and I saw Gracie fly off into the living room. I thought she went to the play stand just inside the living room, but when I went over to take a peek, she wasn’t there. So I started looking all over calling “Where’s Gracie?” I couldn’t see her at all in the bird room or the living room. Every once in a while she takes off down the hallway and I have to rescue her from the shelf in my laundry room, so I was about to go look for her there. As I walked out of the bird room, I saw Elliott fly toward the ledge he plays on between the kitchen and dining room. Then he suddenly let out one of those nice sweet Eclectus warning noises from somewhere in the dining room. So I walked into the dining room and looked around. Over by the window I have a 6-foot high carpeted cat tree. Usually I can find one of the cats stretched out sleeping on the shelf near the top. I didn’t see a cat when I looked up but I was startled to see Elliott standing on the very top of the cat tree; somewhere he has never landed before. He was perched there looking straight at my 7-foot ficus tree in the corner of the room. The sun was shining in the window, making the leaves on the tree an assortment of colors. I started to look away but I saw Gracie, perched on one of the top little branches in the tree. She blended in quite well with the other shades of green and was difficult to see. But Elliott was staring right at her, pointing just like a hunting dog.

Amazed and chuckling over what I saw, I grabbed a cage ladder that I often use to get the birds down from wherever they might be to try and help Gracie. I didn’t know how well it would work, for I had never been able to get her to step up on it before. I reached up with the ladder and told Gracie to step up. She started to pick up her foot and then she leaned back away from the ladder. Elliott immediately jumped from the top of the cat tree to the ladder that was stretched out above my head and looked right at Gracie. She saw him up there, waiting for her and she stepped right up on the ladder. As I brought them both down I just couldn’t stop laughing. I gave them both hugs and kisses and praised Elliott for showing me where to find Gracie. Elliott is always right in the middle of anything going on and he often flies to Abby or Gracie’s side if one of them is squawking about something. But this time, he not only showed me where she was, but he encouraged her to climb up on the ladder so I could help her down. He is such a good “big brother.”

THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE PARROT AS AN EASY-CARE PET?

Camping in New Zealand
I know some world travelers who rented a 4-wheel drive vehicle and went camping in the mountains of New Zealand. They set up their campsite and went off on a three day back packing expedition. Upon their return, they were appalled to find that their campsite had been virtually demolished. Even their locked metal boxes had been penetrated and the contents either destroyed or eaten. This was bad enough but they soon discovered that their vehicle had also 1been seriously damaged. The rubber strips holding the windows in place had been pried off and the glass had fallen to the ground. The interior was in shambles. Anything that was rubber, plastic or cloth had been ripped apart. The truck could not be driven. Knobs and dials were missing and all of the stuffing had been pulled out of the seats. Luckily their campsite was not so remote that they could not hike to a telephone.


Marauding Vandals
What band of marauding vandals had razed this campsite so thoroughly? It was a small flock of Keas,
a sturdy curious parrot with a long powerful sharp beak. Their destructive abilities are legendary. My hopefully unrealistic “nightmare” is that someday someone will breed them in captivity for the pet trade. I can just imagine a disreputable pet shop selling a Kea baby to an unsuspecting novice as an easy-care sweet gentle pet. One day, the owners come home from work to find their house totally destroyed as if it had been hit by a tornado. Sitting atop the rubble is their “easy-care” Kea chick, who pauses from chewing on a table leg just long enough to greet them with a sweet gentle “Hewwo”! 

 

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

By Aimee Nicole Hartmann
(Drawing by B. Courtney Driscoll)

If I ever before believed that parrots understood what we were saying to them, I certainly did after this experience:

I was working for an acquaintance of mine in her bird shop, helping out in the “back,” with the boarders and the parrots for sale and the babies. There was one male Eclectus who was a frequent boarder whose owner insisted he was a big talker but no one had ever heard him say a word. He was always quiet and somewhat defensive when he boarded, until I discovered that his owner was a French-Canadian from Montreal. He was a French speaking bird!

I also speak French, so I started speaking to this beautiful Eclectus in French, just saying hi, and asking him how he was and how it was going. The bird—whose name I can’t remember at the moment but I do remember that it was not particularly French sounding, it was like Paco or Coco or something—looked at me and broke out in speech, totally relieved, and began to yell “Oui! Oui! Oui! ça va? ça va bien!!! OUI! OUI! 

It was so adorable. He looked like he’d just come home. He was so relieved, like he’d finally made a connection among all these weirdos making these odd sounds. He spoke in perfect French whenever he saw me, but was totally silent otherwise. Voilà.

 
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