Yep, eighteen years ago today this little guy pecked his way out of a shell down in Lakewood, CA. We first laid eyes on him when he was about 2 weeks old. We brought him home at 12 weeks and it’s been a learning experience ever since. Parrots are not simple pets. They’re smart and they need affection and stimulation.
I took him to work with me, where I showered him with pistachios, almonds, and peanuts during the day. We shared home made vegetable soup for lunch. He mostly picked out the corn from his own dish, which is his favorite. If he tells you that you are “So corn,” you have been complimented indeed.
Late in the day, I read him all his birthday wishes from Facebook. He laughed and bobbed.
We had an appointment at The Perfect Parrot after work, for grooming and to pick out some toys. He wouldn’t be able to be out looking at the toys in most pet shops.
As you can see, parrot grooming is not exactly a spa day for the little guy. He doesn’t enjoy this, but having them use a Dremel tool to whittle down his nails is better for him than use using toenail clippers at home. There’s a chance of splitting with clippers, I guess, though we did it that way for the first 18 years without incident.
He also had his long flight feathers trimmed back. This way he can fly down and across the room but not so much up. Up gets ugly pretty fast, because the highest bird is the alpha bird. Getting him to come down from up can be stressful and painful…for us. No matter what good pals we are, we need to be the alphas in this relationship. That beak could get him in a lot of trouble.
The good folks at The Perfect Parrot also buffed up his beak and put some lovely lotion on it.
We also made the rather momentous decision to have Dodger’s ID band removed. The Perfect Parrot folks kind of convinced me that he’d be happier without it.
This is a closed band, which means they slipped it over Dodger’s foot when his foot was small enough to do that. Which proves that he was hatched in the U.S., not wild caught in Africa. There’s a big enough breeding population of parrots in the U.S., so they don’t need to be wild caught any more. Dodger’s parents were wild caught…so you know these are not really domesticated creatures.
The pro of keeping the band on is that it makes him identifiable should he be lost or stolen. The coding on the band identifies his breeder and the month/year he was hatched.
The con of keeping the band is the slight chance that it could get hooked on something and he could break a leg. Very rare occurrence, but still. Also the whole thing of having something on his leg always, like a tiny shackle, has never been appealing.
If he were stolen, it’s a simple thing to remove the band. If he were lost and we were trying to identify him, I think him calling out our names would probably be a clue. Every time I got a few feet from him at the bird shop, he called out, “Sundry? Sundry?”
OneL was worried that he’d miss his little bit of bling. But he’s really an adaptable boy. Jens and Weens think I should make an ear cuff or other jewelry out of the old band. But we’re going to file it in the filing cabinet, just in case the parrot police come knocking some day.
Dodger cools off in the middle of The Perfect Parrot, post grooming. They are so great about making sure the bird is stressed as little as possible.
He helped pick out some hanging toys and some foot toys, and we bought a perch that attaches to a window or shower door with suction cups. We had a nice calm drive home, where he was happy to sit on his submarine while we arranged dinner and started some laundry. He was one sleepy parrot after his big day.
Today’s photos were taken with my cell phone. Sigh.