Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Parrot Diaries: First Rule of Finding Yourself in a Hole: Stop Digging

Most people are familiar with the old Will Rogers axiom: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. The parrot equivalent should be: When you find yourself on a perch, stop chewing. Our Ruby macaw Mr. Cracker is a portable woodchipper. He loves to chew. At least once, that we know of, he's chewed through his perch. While he was sitting on it. You'd think he'd learn. But the experience hasn't stopped him from chewing through his perches.

To make our life easier, we decided to start using two by twos for Mr. Cracker's perches. They fit his big feet perfectly. We started with pine. Big mistake. That lasted about two days. So we switched to fir. Much harder wood. Much harder for Mr. Cracker to chew through his perch. Not that it stopped Mr. Cracker from trying to chew through his perch. He just had to work at it harder. The perches last longer. We're talking weeks instead of days. We try to catch the perch before he manages to chew through it. And switch it out with a new one. Not horribly expensive. And the old perch gets sawed up for chew toys.

And we keep hoping that some day Mr. Cracker will stop trying to chew through his perch and focus on chewing his chew toys instead. We can always dream.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Parrot Diaries: Parrot Poop: What Is It Good For?

Of our eight parrots, only one, our Greenwing macaw and diva parrot Roxanne, insists on going outside to do poopie. Year around. Day in and day out. Winter and summer. Pouring rain or sunshine. Well okay, on those rare occasions when it snows here in Seattle, Roxanne will relent and do her business inside. Roxanne hates snow. She is a rain forest parrot, after all. Not a snow forest parrot. Otherwise, her backyard play stand is her outhouse.

After pooping in the same spot day after day after day, the guano tends to build up. In that one spot. So what to do with that literal pile of poop? Parrot poop. What is it good for?

Well, fertilizer for one thing. We've discovered that our outdoor container plants love the stuff. Come spring and the start of growing season, our outdoor container plants are nutritionally deprived and hungry. So what better way to feed them than simply scoop up some of the parrot poop and distribute it to our outdoor container plants. Dig it into the containers. We don't even need to water the parrot poop into the container soil because Seattle's monsoon season typically lasts into June. There's a reason they call it the June Gloom here in Seattle, but that's another story entirely.

So we scoop the parrot poop and dig it into the outdoor containers in between rain storms. In case you were wondering, the parrot poop is pretty odoriferous, so we definitely do not recommend using it on your indoor plants. Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Bird of the Air: Cosmo the Wild-Caught Timneh African Grey Parrot

My name is Cosmo. I am a Timneh African Grey parrot. I was wild caught, just a chick, and transported, stuffed in a box, half way around the world. I survived that ordeal. My current owners think I am about 30 years of age. My original owners had me for at least 10 years, perhaps 15. After they died their children thought I was a wonderful pet and opted to keep me. Unfortunately, they knew nothing about parrots or parrot care. I was shuffled from one family member to another. Eventually I ended up with my current owners.

For reasons I can’t explain I hate males. No doubt it was a male that tore me out of my nest. But I love females and will behave for them. When I jumped on my current owner's husband’s foot and started to bite his toes, my owner said “Cosmo that is not nice” so I got off, hung my head and walked back to my cage. They remained committed to their resolve to keep me as long as the wife was the one to hold and love me, feed me and clean my cage. I was happy and so were they. I fell in love with their daughter and her two daughters. They asked if they could have me, and I was happy with them for several years. About two years ago, my owner’s husband became disabled, and it is a serious disability, so while my owner was at work he could no longer care for me during the day. I am now mad at my owner because she must care for her husband, two daughters and of course me. Sadly, I am the last on the list. My owner asked if she would try to find me a new home. This is the last thing any of them want to do. However, they all feel I deserve a home where I can get the love and attention they feel I deserve.

I need to be in a male free home, with someone who will have the time to let me adjust to the new home and give me lots of love and attention. I like to get out and roam around, which this family has allowed, even when I misbehaved. My current owners said that they want to be sure that I go to the kind of home where I will get the patience, love and attention I deserve. If you think you are the one who can give me what I need please contact Northwest Parrots Fund. I talk a lot and can be quite loud. But I do not swear or curse, which is one of the rules my current owners insist be in place at my new home.

Postscript: We are pleased to report that Cosmo has found a new home with a lovely lady who lives with a flock of parrots, including a Congo African grey. Cosmo couldn't be happier!