Bird Talk

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, Corvid-19 Lockdown Day #41

Yesterday, I took Peaches to Dr. Maas for wing and toenail trims. I had elected for “curb service” and while waiting for a tech person to come out for Peaches, a couple of fellows were leaving the clinic, and on one’s shoulder stood a gorgeous parrot.

“What kind of bird?” I asked.

“Blue and gold Macaw,” he replied. They got into their car before I could ask more.

I realized they saw me as a casually curious onlooker. So, I quickly opened my Jeep door and removed Peaches’ cage, setting it on the ground and hoping they’d spot my bird. They did while backing their car. They made a big circle and paused, now grinning wide-eyed, and happy to chat about birds.

“I’m so glad you could spot Peaches,” I said. “Please tell me more about your parrot.”

Their Macaw still is an infant, only 3-years old, and she can talk up a storm. They have had her since she was three months old. Yesterday, they were excited that she’d get to see another parrot, a first for her.

I held Peaches up, and suppose the two birds looked at one another–hard to tell since each bird eye has a wide range of vision. Their eyes don’t necessarily move directly toward what they’re seeing. We all knew parrots though and believed that those two effectively were sizing up one another.

Actually, I’ve found that it’s stressful for a bird accustomed to being the “only one” to be near another bird. A few years ago, we had a Cockatoo visitor while its owners were on vacation. That bird visitor, a Cockatoo more mature than still-juvenile Peaches, didn’t seem at bothered in strange surroundings near another bird. But Peaches soon began picking at his feathers. That’s a stress sign, never good to see, for once it starts the picking is difficult or impossible to stop. Anyway that was different from yesterday’s situation, which we humans enjoyed.

The three of us exchanged stories about living with our birds. Sharing experiences and affection made us forever friends, even if we don’t again meet–although we might, at the veterinarian’s.

About Peaches’ visit. First and to my great relief, he behaved well. Dr. Maas himself brought the bird out to my car. He said, “Peaches is in very good health, but there’s been a little feather picking.” I’m hoping that now, without flight, Peaches may be on my shoulder and outside more, which might counter his stress.

Even fully feathered and able to fly, Peaches is good about staying on my shoulder, but if frightened he’ll take off into flight. I worry that maybe he’ll land high in a tree and won’t descend readily. The last time we went walking, something made him fly. As I chased, a passing car nearly hit us.

Peaches could use a couple more ounces of weight. Dr. Maas said it’s okay to give him occasional seeds. (Seeds are high-fat, cause rapid weight gain and must be limited). He cautioned against feeding Sunflower and Safflower seeds, highest in fat. Otherwise, Peaches may have seeds. Eating what he loves also alleviates a little stress.

Dear Friends: Appreciating beautiful, smart, and alert birds opens new vistas to humans. Diana

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