Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our Flock: The Diva, Roxanne

Roxanne is clearly an enlightened being in the Hindu sense! One can see her intelligence in her eyes! She exudes a presence that is just not found in other birds. Roxanne is our first bird, and we only intended to get the one! Roxanne is a DNA sexed female Greenwing Macaw (Ara chloroptera). We acquired her because of a divorce, a remarriage, and a move out-of-state by her original owner.

Weighing just shy of two and one-half pounds, Roxanne was hatched November 1997. She was named after the song by The Police, Roxanne, still one of her favorite songs. In fact, not only does Roxanne boast an extensive vocabulary, she has developed a terrific singing voice.

Roxanne epitomzes the Diva! The world revolves around Roxanne! We acquired her at two and one-half years, but she grew up with a couple of blue-eyed blond girls, and that's what she thinks she is. She loves children and being around children, especially blue-eyed blonds. The play area at our neighborhood park is one of her favorite hangouts. If Roxanne is in a crowd of admirers, she automatically gravitates towards any blue-eyed blond girls in the crowd.

Roxanne is one smart bird (excuse me, child)! As mentioned, she has developed an extensive vocabulary and her enunciation of words is superb! She loves to hang out on her backyard stands and talk with the kids in the neighboring yard, or visit with her crow friends. The local crows are fascinated by her. In fact, she even taught one of the crows to say Hello!

Being a Diva can be tough for a bird though, especially if she doesn't think she's a bird! Roxanne is our only flightless bird, even though we do not clip her wings. She barbers her own feathers, and seems to go through phases of feather picking. The condition seems to have started when we got our third bird, Tara, the Hyacinth macaw. Our second bird is Bubba Boy, a Blue and Gold macaw. Although attractive, a Blue and Gold macaw is no competition for a Greenwing macaw in perfect feather. Roxanne has the additional advantage of having rare scalloped feathers (about one in ten among Greenwing macaws). Even with Bubba around, Roxanne continued to be the center of attention wherever she went. The problem started with Tara. Suddenly people would walk right past Roxanne to admire Tara, and this was devastating to Roxanne. As it would be to any self-respecting Diva! Her confidence was shaken. As we've added more birds to the flock, it seems she's become more self-assured. Although she's still flightless, she doesn't attack her feathers as severely as before. As our veterinarian told us, it's better to have a bird that is a feather picker than a feather plucker!

Given a choice, Roxanne is our one bird (not seeing herself as a bird, of course) which would prefer to be an only child, and not a member of any flock.

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