Puppy Dog Tales - July 2016
Two birds change the life of a Bay family, who discover while parrots demand intensive care, they give as good as they get.
- by Daisy Mae Delray, columnist and registered seizure alert dog
Teddy Boy is a Grey Amazon Parrot.
Both of these birds lived in Georgia. When their owner Raymond died unexpectedly in December 2015 they moved here to Mississippi to live with Mark and Lael Butler. Mark is Raymond’s brother so Mark and Leah had known the boys for more than 15 years.
Mark told me that it hasn’t been easy for him and Lael, or the parrots — or their three dogs. First, the physical reality of moving them from Georgia to Mississippi, the very strangeness of a new home with large and loud dogs, and Mark and Lael as newbie parrot parents. But they say it has been a rewarding journey despite the challenges.
“Although we’ve known the birds for 15-plus years, it is really different to be their caretaker, providing fresh fruit and veggies, two per day along with fresh water and seeds, fresh paper in their individual crates as well as the floor of their brand new aviary. In the living room, no less!” Mark told me.
Mark told me that they take the crates outside on a weekly basis to give them a good cleaning, and to give the boys some fresh air and exposure to the outdoor birdies.
These parrots have large vocabularies. “I wish you could hear the whistles, TV tunes, and the phrases like ‘scratch my head,’ ‘what’s your problem,’ or ‘hold on, buddy.’ They whistle the theme some from ‘Andy Griffith’ and ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ and of course the classic ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm.’”
I know there are lots of parrots around, and I did some research. Did you know that there are 372 species of parrots? They are mostly tropical, subtropical and come from areas of South- and Central America, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Species include: Macaws, Amazons, Keas, Kakas, Lorikeets, Parakeets, Love Birds and Cockatoos. Because of their beauty and intelligence, parrots are one of the most popular pets in the world.
Humans learn a great deal by studying parrots. Dr. Irene Pepperberg conducted a 30-year study on parrots with her first hero parrot, Alex. She wrote about her study in the book “Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence — and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process.”
Dr. Pepperberg is the founder of the Alex Foundation. Its goal is to support research and encourage responsible ownership of parrots, their conservation and preservation in the wild, and to keep pet birds healthy living with their human companions.
What a gift Handsome Jack and Teddy Boy are. I appreciate learning about them.
To learn more about these wonderful birds and how they have bonded with humans please check out these websites:
National Geographic Parrot page
ParrotParrot Species Guide
Gentle readers, keep your tail high and your feet dry.
Love, Daisy Mae
Comments are closed.