My history with pet birds starts in middle school. My first bird was a little cockatiel named Rosie, not the most original name since she had “Rosie” red cheeks. Rosie was cool, she whistled and loved to fly across the living room. She was a sweet little bird that loved to have her head scratched.
While taking care of Rosie, I met Maverick, a Red Lored Amazon Parrot. He belonged to the local pet store where I bought supplies, and he was not for sale.
Poor Maverick, (that was my name for her, the pet store hadn’t bothered to name her) lived in a too small, dirty cage perched high on a shelf in the back of a strip mall pet store. She would stare down at people when they walked in the store, and had learned a lovely string of swears courtesy of the local teens that would come in and pester her. I always spent extra time in the store when I shopped there talking to Maverick. I dreamed of having a big bird some day.
Eventually, I noticed a sign that the store was closing. What was to happen to the parrot, I asked? You want it? Of course! Maverick came home with me. First task was a new and bigger cage. Second was reading up on parrot diet and care.
Maverick wasn’t the friendliest bird, but I could pick her up, she would ride on my shoulder if she was in the mood, and she would bite my ear if he wasn’t. She watched TV with us, laughing along and often imitating noises she heard. Maverick quickly became part of the family. When we ate dinner, Maverick had a place at the table. If she wanted something, she would run across the table and grab it off your plate. She loved to climb down from her cage and bite toes as someone walked by. If you screamed when she bit you, she would laugh!
After a couple of years, I headed off to college, and my mother took care of Maverick. When graduation came, I moved into my own apartment and Maverick came with me. Unfortunately, Maverick was not built for apartment life. I found myself feeling bad I wasn’t home enough to give her the time she needed, and my neighbors felt that Maverick was too loud. Although it broke my heart, I knew Maverick needed a new home. I found a bird sanctuary and breeder that was interested in taking Maverick. They promised a large aviary, lots of good food, and even some birdie friends for Maverick to hang out with.
Over the years, I always wanted another pet bird, but I knew how long they could live, how much attention they needed, and how messy they were! I was also afraid to get into a situation of having one and not being able to keep it again.
Many years later, married with my own home and quickly growing children, I saw an article that the local animal shelter had seized dozens of lovebirds that needed new homes, I felt it was time. I went to look at them and loved their cheerful little tweets and pretty colors. My husband, who knows me very well, was afraid that a tiny little lovebird was only going to make me long for a big parrot again. He mentioned to a friend how he would probably regret saying it, but he felt I should get another big parrot, maybe even an African Grey like I had always wanted instead of a little lovebird. Yup, you read it right, my husband convinced me NOT to adopt a little lovebird and instead to wait for the right opportunity to bring my dream bird, an African Grey, home.
Check back soon for part 2 – Hector Comes Home…