Posts Tagged ‘Wingabago’

Birdy Activities

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

All is well with the flock.  It’s been awhile since I posted last, but the 4 parrots continue to be good boys.

Spring is nearly upon us, so that means hormones begin to show themselves.  With careful dietary restrictions, Sam has managed to be a very good boy and he is nearly not hormonal at all, compared to last year when I seemed to have an unending string of months in which I struggled with Sam’s hormones.  I find I have to cut out ALL fatty and sweet treats, such as seeds, nuts, apples, and other sweet fruits.  He’s safe with a daily raw Sugar Snap pea, bits of raw cauliflower, a piece of raw whole wheat pasta, and tiny bits of “Mary’s Gone Cracker’s” crackers.  Fortunately, he likes these treats.  But he always looks for nesting areas, nonetheless!

Sam in a Kleenex box

Steve, however, needs lots of small treats as he is more of a forager than a player of toys.  I try to keep the treats very small but frequent to keep him interested.  Once in a while, he gets to tackle an organic almond in the shell.  He generally takes about 3 days to break into the shell, unless he’s really intensely interested.  The first one he tried took him only a concentrated 10 minutes.  But he takes a more leisurely go at it nowadays:

Steve working on an almond in the shell

And there are days when the vet needs to be seen for various trims.  I have “Wingabagos” for 2 birds, and this time it was Sam and Chipper who had the honor during a recent visit.  Here they are sitting next to me in the front passenger seat, which Chipper strapped in and Sam tucked in front of him:

to the vet...

Off to the Vet Again…

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Here are the two little birdie troopers who went to see their avian vet today – just for beak and nail trims. They are waiting on the reception desk counter in their Wingabagos for me to pay the bill, watching with interest the Dalmation dog and the 3-month old kitten that just arrived. The dog had just pooped out of nervousness inside the office door, and the cat was clawing its way out of its temporary holding bag. Normal vet chaos, but for once my charges were quiet and calm.

However, Sam was not so quiet a few minutes earlier! He needs a beak trim about every 2 months, as his beak grows fast. It is his least favorite activity, so while trussed in a towel, he screamed bloody murder and nearly bit the vet in a few seconds of relative and deceptive quiet, when the doc thought Sam had relaxed. (Pippin, on the other hand, was a model of demure and dignified behavior…)

Sam does not choose to chew holes in wood, as many parrots do. He love to chew wood, but held in his foot and not for foraging. Therefore, he does not wear down his beak well. So I have to bring him in for trimming. I’ve tried many things to get him to chew harder wood to get at treats, but nothing going for him so far. The doc suggested I try sticking treats into softer wood, like balsa, after removing his food so that he’s a bit hungry. I’ll give that a try.

And so the first day of spring was not celebrated as Sam would have chosen!

Fly Free, Jazzy!

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Today my dear feathered friend Jasmine (aka Jazz, Jazzy, Jazzyroo, Jazzy-Rooster-Roo, etc) was euthanized to end her suffering.

Jazzy belonged to my best friend Dweezeljazz, and Dweezeljazz has written about Jazzy’s struggles in various blog posts – this one the most recent.

Why did Dweezeljazz and her husband have to get to this most drastic of solutions? Simple: Jazzy was done in by modern chemical combinations that made her skin so itchy that she began plucking feathers and eventually mutilating her skin. This was no behavioral or emotional situation that is often blamed for feather picking. No. Rather, it was like one of us having a constant case of severe hives with no relief in sight.

The sad thing is that even a recent move to a better location in a lovely newish apartment didn’t solve the problem. Well-meaning neighbors cannot be asked to stop using products – perfumes, highly toxic cleaners, fabric softeners, and highly-scented laundry detergent. And these fumes always have a way of entering into one’s home, despite heroic efforts to keep them out. (I’ve always been amazed by how much more potent and pervasive the use of such chemicals/product is in Europe, compared to the US.)

Jasmine had perhaps an unusually high degree of sensitivity to these chemicals. She spent 6 months in a garden/home center, host to everything from pesticides to scented candles and the scented fumes from well-meaning admirers. She’d already been scratching the feathers off her neck when Dweezeljazz rescued her. And for the next 1 1/2 years she had her new home, it was a constant battle to improve her air quality. But I wonder how many other parrots suffer a similar fate and end up irritable and bitey and plucking, which people may attribute to other factors? These unfortunate parrots often get moved to rescue places and successive homes that often don’t work out.

But enough of that for now. Time to celebrate Jazzy.

One of the hallmarks, for me, of Jazz’s personality was her unbelievable capacity for love and affection. She got it back in bucket-loads from Dweezeljazz and her husband. During the agonizing time we discussed if she should be euthanized, I’ve never experienced such grief and sorrow, thinking that I would never be able to see her again, to hear her call out my name when Dweezeljazz and I spoke on the phone each morning, and to know how huge a hole it would leave in the lives of her caretakers. Their lives have revolved around Jazz for a short but rich time.

Dweezeljazz and her husband would take Jazzy everywhere they could, if the weather was good enough and not freezing. (And even in very cold weather, they’d just wrap a down jacket around her portable carrier and off she’d happily go.)

She would be transported in her Wingabago or her backpack, and LOVED everything new: Loved to socialize with anyone and be admired, loved to go on walks and comment on the birds outside, wolf-whistle anyone passing by (much to the embarrassment of Dweezeljazz), loved to try out hawk imitations on the enormous Clydesdale horse she met, and loved to eat her snacks en route to interesting places. Dweezlejazz spent hours with Jazz in the countryside to escape the apartment fumes. Those became very special times of bonding and loving her even more.

Jazzy had an amazing vocabulary and would often express her wants and needs very clearly. In the last few months, about the only thing that really soothed her skin were warm showers. She asked for them frequently and would revel in the silky relief it gave.

Her comic timing was legendary, her intelligence keen and perceptive in the extreme. Her life was full, happy, and lively, with potential for many years of fulfillment in a family that loved her dearly.

But too soon it ended and her quality of life slowed to a halt. Her distress and pain was more than any of us could bear to watch. We had to let her go.

And so, little Jazzy, we love you and never will forget you. You have given us tremendous gifts of love and understanding, and glimpses into a feathered world that is magical and full of wonders. I hope one day that this world will be safe enough for you and your kind – and so many other joyful beings that wing through the air – to flourish free in your own habitat that is preserved just to cherish such precious beings like you.