Archive for the ‘Jardine’s Parrot’ Category

2014 Update

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Well, I cannot believe it’s been nearly a year since I last posted a blog entry.  My life has changed a lot in many ways and not at all.  But happily so.

My flock is doing very, very well.  They do love living here in Albuquerque with me in my little cottage.  The cockatiels Chipper and Charlie are about 14 years old, Sam is about 12, and Steve around 12 also (3 of which have been with me).

Steve is doing very well too, despite his chronic underwing wound.  Having been a rescued African Grey with serious emotional and physical problems, he has really turned around and become a happy, well-adjusted (for him) Grey.  He is still phobic about being removed from his cage, and he doesn’t take any chances if he thinks someone wants to pull him out and take him to the vet.  So he sticks close by his cage.  But he’s a happy guy and we have a wonderful connection.   He is the most gentle and sweet bird with a bit of  Grey playfulness shining forth now and then.  Here are some photos of him from last week.  He is actually not perching on my knee (though he has done that from time to time), but is sitting on a perch on his cage door asking for head rubs.

photo 2


photo 1

Steve’s underwing wound originated with his first owner who neglected him and didn’t provide any kind of stimulation.  At first, we thought he was mutilating himself; but I’ve since learned from my vet here that Steve has a chronic problem with ingrown feathers under one wing.  This may be the original cause of the wound – Steve’s attempts to remove the discomfort.

The bad thing is that he always has a bit of a bloody wound or scab under that one wing, but if I take him to the dreaded (but wonderful!) vet every 2-4 months to have it debrided and swabbed and checked for ingrown feathers, he does very well.  He may eventually die of an infection, but so far he has lived with it without complications.  It must present him with pain every day, but you would not know it except that he is slower moving than most Greys and he doesn’t stretch or lift his wings in greeting, as most parrots do.

My excellent avian vet and I have gone over possible surgical solutions, but he has so little skin left in that area, and the stress would be extreme for Steve.  We both feel Steve needs to be allowed to live happily with some minimal help along the way.  Here he is, after a thorough drenching shower, happily chewing up foraging materials with his humidifier spewing its helpful wetness into a very dry New Mexico fall season.

photo 5

Sam is a wonderful companion and loves going for walks on my shoulder out into our garden.  For longer walks, I put him into a small soft-side parrot carrier, which he loves.  He is easy-going and a very simple guy – though he doesn’t take well to strangers.  He considers my mother and sisters strangers…still!  After 2 years.

photo 4

And my most recent avian accomplishment was to get my two cockatiels to room in the same cage.  I had begun them together when I got Charlie, but they proved to be too competitive then.  But they’ve mellowed also and spend so much time in each other’s cage that I thought it was time.  And it’s working out great and saving me some much-needed space (this is Chipper below – Charlie was roosting somewhere on top of my cupboard when the photo was taken).

photo 3


Although I haven’t been painting for some time, I still explore ways to create.  Recently, I had a real desire to embroider again and I combined that desire with creating a liturgical item for my local priest, called a pall (it covers the chalice used during Mass), and this was the result.  I love embroidery, which I used to do a lot when I was in my 30s.  Eventually I will get back to painting.  However, it may have to wait till I have more time when I’m not working regularly.


The fall here is always beautiful – spectacularly so:  cold nights, warm golden days with soft, very dry, breezes.  The annual balloon festival is in full swing, and I am very grateful for everything.  May your fall be lovely and may you keep warm and toasty this winter!


PS  BunRab, my house rabbit, is fine too.  She is currently shedding her spring/summer coat and looks rather tatty so did not want to be photographed!





Naughty Crows

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

As the weather gets colder here in Albuquerque, I’ve had to curtail walks with Sam in his carrier.  But a couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of a sunny noon lunch break and the two of us went on a mile walk.

We entered the park near home. During the Fall when the pecan trees start divesting themselves of their nuts, the crows gather by the hundreds in this park to forage for food, and crows are noisy and very, very raucous!  As we passed under a wheeling bunch of them, Sam got quite agitated and began screeching at them.  Finally, he couldn’t hold it in any longer.  He yelled at them, “YOU BE!”  – which is shorthand, learned by his old flockmate Pippin the lovebird, for “YOU BE GOOD!”  Pippin was always correcting her “boys” when they got too fractious and loud.  And although she’s been gone for a couple of years now, Sam obviously did take that in and used it  appropriately when he felt the crows had gone way too far in their behavior.  Naughty, bad crows…




We Do Walk…

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Sam in the carrier and Maizy forging ahead on a beautiful warm Albuquerque morning…







Steve and Sam

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Steve finished with a shorter second round of antibiotics and is doing well after an initial low-energy period after his ingrown feather’s now back to be his version of “active,” which is a very, very slow form of active for most African Greys.  He’s just a quiet and slow-moving guy.  However, once in awhile, he really gets mischievous as happened today:  he really, really, wanted a soaking bath. I usually spray him, but he continued in his water dish.  So I provided a low tub of water for him, which he splashed his head into, and then upended most of it onto his play station.  It was good to see, even if a bit messy!

Sam is being adventurous by accompanying me on my daily walks (that is, when it’s not too cold or too hot).  I recently bought a nifty (though expensive) small walking carrier made by Celltei that can be worn like a back pack or worn in front (which I prefer, so that Sam feels I am close and he can see me).  Sam LOVES the carrier!  Here he is, waiting for “walkies.”


The carrier sits on top of his cage, where he plays during the day.  I will often find him quietly sitting inside, just hanging out serenely. I love being able to include Sam in more of my activities, and this is a great boredom-buster.  It tires him out too – an added benefit.  This is the small size, though it borders on being almost too small.  But it works for a Jardine’s Parrot.  It would be too small for an African Grey.



We’re Going to Fly South This Fall…

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Yes, my flock and Bun Rab will be “flying” south this fall to a  new home in New Mexico!  I will be very happy to be living next door to my mother and sister, who are waiting for my arrival with great anticipation.

It’s a big move – I’ve been at my present location in Oregon for the last 10 years – but I eagerly look forward to a new beginning.  They are always challenging but usually rich with many benefits and blessings.

Chipper is a veteran traveler, having made the trip to New Mexico once before (but ended up only visiting).  Sam has made a trip to California.  Steve is also a veteran traveler when he flew with me two years ago by Southwest Airlines from his foster home to Oregon.  Charlie is Oregon-born and never gone further than 10 miles anywhere.  But as long as he’s next to Chipper, he won’t mind the trip.  The two cockatiels will have a lot of fun.

My greatest worry has been how to shoehorn Steve from his cage to which he is inextricably bound by his phobia of being outside his cage.  But I think I came up with a solution:  getting him used to his travel cage gradually by making it a “sun porch” off his main cage via his food hatch.  With the lure of a pecan in the shell, he easily comes and goes now between his cage and his travel cage, as you can see from this shot:

Steve sampling goodies in his travel cage

It is a morning ritual now that Steve comes to visit his travel cage for his breakfast goodies:  apple, a bit of home made mash, etc.

So Steve and Sam will accompany me in the front passenger seat, and the cockatiels and Bun Rab in the back seat.  It should prove to be quite an adventure!

Sleepy Sam

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Sam and I were hanging out on the couch awhile ago, and the sunshine was ever so relaxing.

He fell asleep on my lap for a few minutes…

Who is Channeling Pippin?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

All is going well with the flock.  Steve has reached a bit of a plateau where nothing further seems to be happening.  But he’s maintaining a consistently calmer state and seems happy to be where he is.  I have to be very careful, though, about my emotions.  Recently, I’ve been doing some lectoring at my church.   Each time when I’m about to leave the house, I begin feeling slightly nervous.  Steve immediately picks up on that and refuses to come near.  When I try giving him clicker training, he bites me (not hard) and backs away.  He is like a super-sensitive radar, picking up on the slightest difference to my normal emotional state.  Fortunately, I’m basically happy and calm, so I guess any difference must be sufficiently scary for him to want nothing of it!

Sam, though, is the real topic of this post.

On Monday morning, as I was preparing the birds’ breakfasts in the kitchen, I heard Pippin!  Pippin, my lovebird,  died of natural causes at the end of January, and no one has made any sign of mimicking her noises – before she died or since.  I ran into the living room to discover who in my flock had suddenly channeled Pippin.  Eventually, as the sounds kept reappearing, I discovered it was Sam, my rascally Jardine’s Parrot, who had been imitating Pippin’s characteristic noise.

This is a tantalizing puzzle to me.  Why would Sam  suddenly dredge from his memory Pippin’s noise after two months of her absence?  Has he been quietly practicing since January while I’ve been at work and he decided this was a good week to surprise me?  Or did he suddenly miss Pippin and decide to bring her near through his memory of her vocalization?  I’m stumped!  It would be fascinating to know what’s going on inside this guy.  He seemed somewhat indifferent to Pippin’s passing, except to grow very quiet when I showed him her inert body on the day she died.

Have any of you experienced anything similar with your birds?

Only A Few More Days…

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

till my rescue parrot arrives!  He has been fostered for a few months by a dear friend and has  made amazing progress during that time.

As you can see, my Jardine’s Parrot Sam seems to approve of the set-up and has christened the playtop with several poops.

And here he is giving me a winsome look:

I’ll be traveling half-way across the US on Wednesday to pick up my new charge.  I will post more later once I return!

Sam and Hormones

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

I haven’t posted anything recently about my rascally parrots – they’ve been all good and healthy and happy – the way we like them to be!

Bu, as with most parrots, Sam the Jardine’s Parrot at age 7, is feeling his hormones.  This can be slightly annoying and inconvenient (to humans) to very worrying, depending on how severe the situation is.  Mary at Parrot Musings blog has had years of experience with this issue with both male and female parrots, and with both mild and severe cases.  Her blog is a must-read if you are considering obtaining a parrot.

Hormonal periods come at odd times – not just springtime into summer.   December and January seem to be peak periods for many parrots.  It’s at times like these that a lot of people owning parrots find the challenge too daunting and foreign to contend with and end up surrendering their parrots.

Since Sam doesn’t have a mate to bond with in my home, he has bonded to me.  This is a story that repeats itself all the time in parrot households.  We give our parrots our love, physically giving them head scritches and cuddles – and that  love is reciprocated,  parrot-style.   Regurgitation of food is one of the first things Sam does if I’ve been away and he wants to tell me how much he missed me!  That is exactly what he’d do if he wanted to express himself to his parrot mate.

But at hormonal times, regurgitation is often followed by what I call “the moves”:  he watches my every movement, stops playing with his toys, “whines” when I’m not near him, shakes his tail and quivers his wings, etc.  Then I know he’s got it bad and he’s a lovesick little parrot.  Not even food will break his trance!  And that is saying something for Sam, who will do almost anything for a treat.

It’s difficult to handle sometimes.  My vet tells me to simply ignore him when he behaves this way.  Another thing that helps is to withhold high-calorie/high fat treats, like nuts; and definitely withhold any soft and/or warm foods.  The soft foods make parrots’ brains go into “I must feed my mate” mode. I usually give all my parrots steamed veggies at dinnertime when I eat mine.  Sam gets raw veggies for now, and he’s OK with that.

Another must is to have Sam forage for his pellets so that he’s busy.  When he gets hungry, he has to work for it by finding it and extracting it from hiding places and unwrapping the pellets (I wrap them in paper).

Cuddling/covering his back/stroking his underbelly – all no-no’s, as these are like foreplay for the parrot body!

I have noticed that all these factors help reduce the triggers, and each day he’s slightly less infatuated.  When he’s acting normally, I can then give him head scritches and assure him I do love him.

So, day by day, we’re getting there!

But if you are new to parrots and are tempted to buy or rescue one because they’re so beautiful, they can talk, etc., please be aware that parrots are wild animals and not domesticated like dogs or cats with predictable behaviors.  Parrots  have the same instincts, but their behaviors are avian, not mammalian, and therefore can be quite foreign to us when they occur.  It requires a lifetime commitment to give them the best – through thick, thin, and hormones!  But if you can make that commitment, you and your parrot can have a lifetime of satisfaction together.

Sam Does Shadowboxing

Sunday, December 6th, 2009
YouTube Preview Image

Sam decided to try something a little bit different.  Instead of climbing the walls, he climbed the curtains and ended up happily behind the sheer curtains.  I love the effects, and I think he did too.