Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Drives Us to Tears!

This is what makes me crazy!

We received a phone call yesterday that left me at a loss how to respond.


A woman in Eastern Washington rescued a presumed female special needs Blue and Gold macaw named BJ about six weeks prior. The macaw had a broken wing that never received veterinary attention, had plucking and screaming issues, and could be sweet one moment and a terror the next The person that rescued the parrot was quickly able to ascertain the conditions necessary to calm and manage the bird. But after six weeks she concluded that she could no longer offer the parrot the environment that the bird needed. So this person, someone I didn't know and never met, was going to drive the parrot across the state to Seattle the next day, and was phoning to ask if she could drop the parrot on our doorstep! 

Blue and Gold Macaw BJ

BJ lived with her previous owner for about two years. This person's avian veterinarian estimated BJ to be about fifteen years old. BJ lived in a shuttered room, because an open window caused her to start screaming. A television kept BJ company during the day. BJ would only come out of the room at dinner time to eat in the kitchen with the couple that rescued her. During the day, BJ roamed between a play stand and a wire dog crate (see photo below) measuring 18 inches by 18 inches by 30 inches. At night, the macaw was coaxed into the crate with her favorite treats, and closed in and covered for the night!


BJ's previous owner was afraid to handle the macaw for fear of bites. BJ instead picked the woman's forty year old daughter as the one person who was allowed to handle the parrot. BJ would let the daughter scratch her head and would step up on her arm.


When BJ's previous owner acquired the parrot, the bird was living in an outdoor aviary with other macaws. She never left the aviary, and never came indoors, even in winter. BJ was under constant stress, having to fend off the alpha macaws with her. During this time, one of her wings was broken. BJ received no veterinary attention. BJ also developed respiratory problems. Her new owner finally took BJ to a veterinarian where she was diagnosed with aspergillus fumigatus, and treated. BJ is also under treatment for high blood pressure. At some point BJ additionally developed a plucking problem.


BJ seems to have a healthy appetite, favoring Kaytee rainbow pellets, Zupreem pellets, hookbill mixes, and lots of fruits and veggies (cooked and raw). She exhibits a limited vocabulary, saying: Hi BJ, Awwww, Bad Bird, Shut Up! Quiet! and some other phrases.


Two weeks ago BJ moved out of quarantine and into her current caretaker's flock. The change did not go well. BJ became agitated, screamed loudly as in a panic, and started biting without provocation. BJ moved back into isolation, into a room alone with natural lighting and a radio for company. This move seemed to calm the macaw considerably. Unfortunately, because of family considerations, this room is no longer available. Thus we come to the late night phone call to us last night. 


BJ's Home


It's stories like this that fervently cause us to wish to believe in reincarnation. We can only hope that whoever is responsible for BJ's sad state of affairs comes back in their next life as a cockroach! Clearly there are people who should not be allowed to keep parrots as pets. We continue to wonder about the suitability of parrots as pets.


We are happy to report that a home here in Seattle has been found for BJ, on very short notice. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

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