Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Naped Amazon’

Blue Front AmazonIn 2000, my old cat and best friend Spot Bob died. (“Spot” — think Star Trek NG and “Data” — and “Bob” — think Joe Bob Briggs, or as an ex-GF who grew up in a single-wide in a junkyard put it, “Joe Bob,” “Billy Bob,” “Spot Bob”.)

After he expired in my closet on a foam mattress, I swore I’d never have another pet animal. Ever.

Less than a month later, my GF at the time got in a horrible car crash after I dumped her. She was a hardcore hidden drinker, got abusive when she drank, and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. The afternoon I said goodbye and said “call me when you stop drinking,” she drank a pint of vodka after I left, jumped in her car, and got in a head-on crash.

She left behind a baby parrot she’d been badly abusing. (She’d also cut herself up with razor blades, as I’d found to my dismay a couple months into the relationship.)

After she crashed, her ex didn’t want the bird, and neither did her two (barely) grown kids, who were, quite understandably, severely emotionally fucked up in their own right.

So, I took the bird and gave him a home — a year-and-a-half-old Yellow Naped Amazon. I had no idea how to properly take care of him. I just let him roam the house and fed him the food PetSmart sold me. He quickly became my best buddy. The only problem was that he attacked on sight any woman who came into the house, sometimes drawing blood. He drew no distinction between my horribly abusive ex and other women: he wanted vengeance..


So, when women came over, I’d lock him up — but I felt guilty as hell about it. But he’d physically attack them — remove flesh — if I didn’t. (Now, he’s much better with women, still conflicted but nonagressive.)

Shortly after that, I met a woman in a web design class who was a volunteer with the local parrot-rescue group, TARA — Tucson Avian Rescue and Adoption.

I did 10 to 20 hours a week volunteer work for the next decade, doing fostering, behavioral rehab of abused and neglected Amazons (dozens), and parrot-care education classes, plus the web site.

Along the way, three more abused Amazons decided they liked it here and wanted to hang around. I couldn’t turn them away, so I now have four permanent three-year-olds with large powerful beaks.

I love them. They’re a pain in the ass, and it takes me about an hour a day to take care of them physically (cutting up veggies and fruits, cleaning water and food bowls, cleaning up the shit around their cages, changing the papers in their cages, etc.) Then there’s their demands on me: “Pick me up! Pick me up! Give me scrinches!” I spend several hours a day with a parrot on my shoulder. And it feels good. I’m doing something good for other conscious, feeling beings. (And you bet they are!)

It helps me get out of myself and care for others. I never had kids because I didn’t want to put them through the same emotional torture I went through as a kid — yes, “dumbth” on my part: generalizing from a sample of one terribly messed-up family that shouldn’t have and didn’t reproduce beyond me.

Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve been hoping that someone younger than I am would fall in love with the birds and would take them on after I croak. It hasn’t happened, and probably won’t.

As Albert Ellis said toward the end of his life, regarding death, “I’m not exactly looking forward to it.” Neither am I. But what I do worry about is what’s going to happen to my birds.

First off, I’m one of them — a rescuer. I did volunteer work for a decade with the local parrot rescue group: fostering, behavioral rehabbing, doing parrot care classes (more complicated than you’d think), writing and maintaining the web site, spending a good hour a day on feeding, cleaning cages, etc. It was a major commitment. At times, I had up to eight of them here, awaiting adoption. Now, I’m down to four nearly unadoptable “hard cases” who had gone through many homes and many potential adopters before they decided they wanted to be here — and I wanted them.

Why? The first one came to me after an alcoholic ex-girlfriend, who was an animal abuser (which I realized later), had a horrible auto crash. Her ex didn’t want the abused bird; her two kids in their early 20s didn’t want him; so he got me. I had to take him. My old cat had died a few weeks before, and I’d sworn I’d never have another animal. Really didn’t want one. But what was I going to do? He liked me, I liked him, no one else would take him, and he was a defenseless animal.

So, a two-year-old abused Yellow Naped Amazon parrot acquired me.

A year after that, I met a woman in a web design class who was doing volunteer work for the local parrot rescue group. I got sucked in: they saw I did well with abused Amazons, and I was shortly doing what I’ve described above, over the next decade  fostering/rehabbing a good 30 or 40 birds. Along the way, three “hard case” Amazons acquired me — they were here long enough that I got attached to them, and they got attached to me, so here I am — with four permanent three year olds.

But what are we supposed to do with parrots and other sentient creatures kept as pets? They should never have been put in that position.  They should never have been kept as pets. It’s too cruel in itself. And some humans are simply beasts to animals (some of what I’ve seen is simply nauseating). But they’re here, so what do we do with them?

The answer is obvious: stop breeding them as pets, provide the ones who are already here with kind homes. support captive breeding projects for endangered and threatened species, and do our best to protect and expand their remaining habitats.

And above all, don’t buy birds. If you want one, adopt one from a rescue group or pet shelter.