Out of the blue I got a PM from a gal who used to clean my house (I fired her but was nice about it. She really didn’t do a very good job). She said a guy she works with has to rehome an African Grey parrot and since I’m “so good with animals” would I like the bird? She gave me her co-workers phone number so I could call him to get the details.
Apparently… This bird was his father-in-law’s parrot for the first eleven years of her life and then the wife took care of this bird after he died for the last nine years! Now, at age 84, she can no longer take care of the now 20-year-old bird due to health reasons. The family did not want the bird either. I agreed to go look at the bird.
“Murphy” is most likely a girl although has not been DNA sexed to know for sure. She was ripped out of her home where she lived in a small cage in a dark corner and driven to the son-in-law’s home (his wife is staying with her mom to make sure she is “okay” after her recent hospital stay). There, “Murphy” was placed in front of a HUGE window overlooking some “wetlands”; I could see a hawk sitting in one of the nearby trees above the small pond! I’m sure the parrot was aware of that hawk too! Definitely scary for a prey animal!
Upon meeting the parrot, we were told she had not been handled for the last nine years and when the MIL needed to handled her such as when cleaning her cage, she used a leather glove. Well just great… NOT! Watching the bird very closely, I asked her to “step up”. She quickly avoided me by running to the opposite side of her very small cage-top play stand. Knowing that chasing the bird was likely to get me bitten, I suggested hubby try to pick up the bird? Maybe this bird like men after having spent her early years with “grandpa”?
After a few attempts, hubby WAS able to pick up the bird and walk away from the play stand/cage to a more neutral location to interact with the bird. She immediately put her head down to be scritched… a sort of word in-between “scratch for an itch” saying that some parrots enjoy. Hubby complied; the parrot seemed to enjoy the attention and the handling. Then, he passed the parrot to me.
Since I will be the one who spends the majority of time with this bird, I have to be able to handle the bird also. I, too, was able to hold and scritch the parrot’s neck. Her feet were green with caked on debris and her toenails were very sharp; perhaps the reason for the glove? It was then I decided we would take this bird home with us. Regardless of what this bird’s life had been like since grandpa died nine years ago thus living with grandma, PLUS being left alone this last week when grandma was in the hospital, this bird was still trusting of humans in general. Grandpa DID do right by this bird way back when.
Meanwhile, eleven year old granddaughter is crying. She had begged mom and dad to let HER keep grandpa’s parrot. Talking to the granddaughter where her dad could over-hear me, I explained to the girl what I would do with “Murphy”. How I would buy a bigger cage for the bird with LOTS of interactive toys for “Murphy” to explore/destroy. I explained how we made parrot food…warm cooked pasta mixed with veggies that were rotated seasonally along with a pellet diet (and very few seeds!) I explained giving the parrot showers regularly so she could preen herself and adding a humidifier for added moisture (good for any parrot but especially in my very dry climate!) The young girl soon stopped crying and started asking me “why” questions. I patiently explained what I would do different for “Murphy” and what I would do the same as her grandfather once did with this parrot. When we left, the young girl hugged me thanking me for giving the parrot a good home.
Loaded up and home, “Murphy” now named “Bella” did well on the trip home and in her new surroundings. I’m fairly sure she is a she but will have her DNA tested when I take her into the vet for bloodwork and exam. Eating and drinking well, so far so good. I made hubby promise to help spend time with “Bella” so she remained receptive to both men and women handling her. Did I want another parrot? Not especially but I wasn’t going to say “no” when asked to help this bird. This is how I came to now own “Bella”, a 20 year-old African Grey parrot.
P.S. Thanks to Amazon Prime… I now have a major parrot toy order that should be delivered in 2-3 days. Yeah! As of this writing, Bella is now exploring the toys I put in her old cage; she was afraid of them last night. It’s a beginning!
Now if I could just get rid of my nasty head cold, life would be SO MUCH BETTER!