Rich W's Bird Family

Posting for Rich W as promised... here is most of the family! :) I think that Otto and Honeybell are showing off for the camera!


The Birds

Otto (now 30 y/o) and Honeybelle (now 16 y/o) came to me together as a pair. I was willing to adopt Otto but Honeybelle seemed too traumatized. They are U2s (Umbrella Cockatoos). Otto had been kept in a small (too small to open his wings) display cage in a restaurant for 13 years. He was only allowed out once a week when his cage was cleaned. As a result he has "break-out" periods of extreme aggressiveness, that is almost like psychosis. He is not adoptable. We treat him with love and lots of handling. He is getting better. He talks and is very affectionate with me. Honeybelle had a wonderful elderly owner who died andleft the bird to her daughter. The daughter took her to college in a cat carrier and left her in it most of the time. Honeybell became so stressed she began to pluck her own feathers out. an intermediate rescuer bought Otto and Honeybelle and brought them together. Honeybell who is very violent against any other living animal except humans, did not attack Otto but fell in love. Other animals including cats, dogs, and other birds get attacked and bitten. HB almost killed a small lovebird. After that she became a bit more gentle with the other birds. I think she realized she was more powerful than she intended and has backed off a lot. (These birds are very smart). As violent as Honeybelle is to other animals, she is absolutely gentle with and has never bitten a human.

The next set is a pair of Senegal parrotts, Sunshine (him) and Sparkle (her). They live in the same cage but have a little friction from time to time as they are now only 2 y/o and are still identifying pecking order and sexual attitudes. They are healthy but the wife of an Italian family asked us to adopt them because a family member was abusing them. For a long time you could not pet them without them trying to duck.

HaILEY is our African Gray congo. She makes noises and says a few phrases but mostly noises. Hailey's owner had to move on without her so she was left to be cared for by a Florida sanctuary. I saw her there and fell in love with her. She had bad balance. Eventually she had a seizure and fell off her perch and was acting very strangly. I thought she had broken a wing. I took her in for xrays and found the wing was fine but the gizzard had 3 spots of metal in it and that was causing some form of metal toxicity. It affected her balance and her personality. It took 6 meds and 2 to 3 administrations of them a day to cure her but she seems much better now and her blood levels test at the high range of normal. Hailey mimmicks a knock or door bell so well, visitors frequently ask me, "Aren't You going to get that?" and then I have to tell them they were bested in a game of wits by a bird.

Another at-wits-end owner brought her 2 cocktiels to us and begged us to take them for her because her job had changed and she couldn't keep them and didn't want them to go anywhere else. What guy can resist a woman crying about her pets. So we have the cockatiels and they are a hoot, just like the real "George" and "Gracie" Burns.

A new friend brought me Spinner (a mixed breed goffin cockatoo) and Peaches (a moloccan cockatoo) who screams a lot. Spinner is an entertainer and loves to do tricks like falling down dead when you shoot him with your finger. He bobs his head and says, "woo woo woo woo woo woo wooo wooo wooo when you tell him you are going to and then subsequently pull his tail. He also sings opera and sings "La La La La" He is cuddily and affectionate. He says, "Its time for night night. Time to go to bed!" when it is his bedtime. The bigger his audience, the more he likes it. The Moloccuan cockatoo is very affectionate andlives u0p to the breed's reputation of acting like babies that want to be cuddled.

The birds do fly with me but I usually cage them because an "I'm afraid" bite - especially from one of the cockatoos (the Beretta bird) can be vicious and might distract me at a bad time. They do ride in my truck with me and frequently occupy and fertilize the head rest. The larger birds - the cockatoos - are potty trained and as long as I give them a chance by holding them out the window or before I get in the truck, they will poop outside. They all love to ride and I can usually be seen with one or two with me when I'm traveling around town. It is good socialization for them. Spinner (the white part-goffin cockatoo) used to get car sick. I think it was because he was "rehomed" so many times he was making himself emotionally sick at the thought of "Uh Ho Here we go again." Now that he has been with me for 8 months he has stopped getting carsick. I can tell you a carsick bird can produce a lot more effluent than you can believe and he shakes his head from side to side as he does it. Ever hear of baptism?

Cuddles is a Quaker (also called Monk) parrot. He was found in the parking lot of a local high school. The first owner brought him to me. Cuddles got in the habit of plucking himself before or during his escape and now doesn't seem to be able to stop. I often call him rotten bottom because his only feathers are on top of his wings and his little bottom is as bare as an egg. I think he went hungry quite a while because even though he is a small bird (slightly larger than a parakeet) he gorges when I give him food - every time - all the time. He is named for his behavior. He loves to cuddle and will purr like a cat (characteristic of the breed). He has a vocabulary of bird noises to express when he is happy (kind of an upward toned "thwip") and when he is not happy (kind of like a whistle). He gets upset when I have had to travel and gets aggressive toward anyone in his environment and bites. Birds get VERY VERY attached and when a flock member is gone, they think he has died (because in the wild that is usually the case) so they mourn someone who disappears for a few days. Cuddles grooms my beard and his only bad habit is loving too much. He tries to bite off all the little red "insects" he thinks inhabit my hide. Only in my case they are part of the hide and it can hurt and even bleed. I'm glad he is a lover and not a fighter, he could be a bad biter. Now he has one little cotton white tail feather we call his "happiness feather". The vet says if he will stop plucking elsewhere his feathers could come back but it will take up to 2 years because they grow so slowly.

Scarlett is a female eclectus. She and Baby (the second Moloccan cockatoo) will not be in the photo I'm going to send FlyGirl to post (when I get home from Minneapolis where I'm doing volunteer accreditation visit for 2 Paramedic Training centers. I volunteer to stay busy. I can't get a job because I'm disabled from an on the job fire department injury that resulted in 8 so-far back surgeries). I was driving home one day about 6 weeks ago when Florida was in the grip of a raging blizzard. It was all the way down to the upper 30's (real artic climate). I saw a cage in an open garage at a house as I drove by. I just knew no one would leave a bird out in that weather so I figured it was a spare cage and I might be able to buy or talk the owner out of it. I always need a cage for an adoptee. I made a U-turn and went back to see a bird shivering as her owner worked in the garage. The bird was vicious to the wife (to the point of lunging at her from inside her cage when the wife walked by) and couldn't stay inside the house so the owner put her in the garage. I bought the bird on the spot and took her home. Warmed her up and fed her until I thought she would pop. She had plucked her feathers everywhere on her body and looked like a supermarked chicken except for her head where she could not reach. Female eclectus'es have a bright red head and a blueish-purple body. They are the superstars of color in the bird family. Check one out on the internet. They are also sexually dimorphic (male and female are differently colored). The males are emerald green. She calmed right down and became a very loving bird. I had to travel for 8 days ending last week (I volunteer for a Disaster Medical Assistance Team DMAT and had training on earthquakes at Fort Mclelland in Aniston Alabama). She started plucking again and made herself bare and lost all the itty bitty t... er feathers that were coming in. She got pretty mad and bit me several times including twice on the nose that brought blood. So now I'm walking around with more red spots for cuddles to pick at (Did I mention that birds LOVE to pick off scabs?). All it takes is a moment of inattention when you are holding a bird and any scab you have magically disappears and is replaced by a bleeding spot.

Lastly are the love birds. I have adopted them out to a friend in California so they aren't here anymore. JoJo was a little girl who would say her own name in a high pitched voice. She doesn't say anything else but when called replies. She was the pet of a family whose children got too busy as teenagers to play with her so she sat in her cage and got vicious for lack of play. She also started plucking and had bleeding wounds on top of her wings when they brought her to us. It took 15 minutes to calm her down and get her to be lovey. The family was shocked and promised to visit her. They never did. I do applaud them for passing her on. That does show love for the animal. Another little green love bird had plucked his feathers too and went to the same loving home with his yellow mate.

Sweety and Jaws (Yup - named for good reason) are 2 other love birds that are gone now. Sweety was bitten by the white umbrella cockatoo, HoneyBelle and almost died. She spent 2 days and $800 (love money) in the vet hospital (She's a $50 bird). But she recovered.

Jack was our first bird. He has passed on now and the rescue is named Jack's Nest in his honor. He was a self mutilator and had started chewing on his own foot. I had a no-chew-doggie-cone put on him. While I was out he escaped from it and chewed down to an artery. He bled terribly. Birds cannot stand more than a few drops of blood loss. So he died in my hands when I came home. I think he waited for me. He was my most special friend and we could do anything together. The night before he died, I petted him on his perch and it knocked him off balance. I said, "I'm sorry Jack" to which he replied, "That's OK daddy". I could pull him by his tail across the tile floor and turn him loose and he would skid a few more inches. He would then yell "whee" and come pigeon-walking back for more. He loved Montgomery Gentry's music and would sign along with it until I had to turn it off.

Birds can be amazing but they are also a committment. Winston Churchill had a cockatoo that is still alive and living in Key West at an age of over 115. Most cockatoos only live about 80 years.

Thank you for your loving comments. I'm reluctant to accept donations but if you wish to help with the parrott rescue, my address is: 920 Gran Paseo Drive/Orlando, FL 32825. I will try to post a photo of the birds. I haven't been able to in the past but I will try again. Pilots and pilot families are welcome to visit the birds in my home. Thanks for your interest - hope I haven't bored you too much but I can get a bit strange about my feathered friends. They can be amazing.


  • Very cool Lynn. My sister is a vet in Vermont and she's always got a few birds hanging around, which she got into while living in Egypt many years ago.

    And what's with the new avatar photo? It looks like a movie poster!
  • LOL, Jeff... I'm a scrapbooker you know, so when Rich was describing his feathered family of rescue parrots on his thread earlier, I wanted to see them. The photo he sent last night was perfect and I didn't have to do a thing to it. :) I also love animals and I think it's great to be able to get to know the people here who are doing good things!

    And I hope that my avatar doesn't look like a horror movie poster! ;) My DH took that one of me while we were waiting for the ferry on Abaco Island to take us to Hope Town and the Harbour Lodge resort in March when we were in the Bahamas. We landed in Marsh Harbour and spent a couple of days on Abaco before going on to Staniel Cay and Cat Island. Spring Break in the Bahamas, mon! :)
  • ....And, how did you enjoy Cat Island?
  • We also have a bird, dog and horse rescue. My wife has over 50 birds, 23 dogs and 13 horses. We also have a mutilator and have tried everything to get her to stop. We have had her 5 or 6 years now. and have to patch her up when she pulls plugs out of herself when she gets around the collar. She is a mullacan cockatoo. Most are the larger birds, Macaws, Amazons, cockatoos and down to African Grays All are from people that get tired of them or they start pulling feathers out and not pretty anymore or they get too loud or whatever. They all have stories. They have their own room. When we built the room for them it is climate controlled for both humidity and temperature. They have it better than I do most of the time. The running joke with the kids is that whoever "pisses us off" the most will inherent the birds. HAHA The only ones we usually adopt out are the horses after we have rehabilitated them if they are adoptable. Most of them are old and not adoptable. They are good for occasional riding, but mostly pasture ornaments and hay burners.
  • Ron-Hermann Wrote:
    > ....And, how did you enjoy Cat Island?

    Well, we never made it to the naked beach supposedly near Hawk's Nest... my DH was not particularly into that idea and was giving me "that look" about it, the shopping was even more minimalist than on Abaco, and then we had a weather delay coming back to the US that kept us there a day and a half longer than anticipated, but we did have some fun there! It was relaxing and rustic and the plastic pitcher of coconut rum punch at the tiki bar was never empty. :) DH and I went kayaking on our first extra afternoon there and then the next day went hiking up to Father Jerome's Hermitage on Mt. Alvernia and got some decent pictures. Look out... it's something like 200 feet MSL, thre highest point in the Bahamas! :) I climbed up the rickety metal ladder in the bell tower just so I could ring the bell. No one else would do it... I don't think they trusted the ancient ladder, but I'm fairly lightweight and I wanted a photo of me ringing that bell! Got it, too! :) Feranadez Bay Village was fabulous... I'm putting a request next time for the Royal Palm suite for as many nights as I can get it. The airport needs to get fuel sales going though... right now there is none and it needs it! Not that I really minded, but we had to make a side trip to Exuma one day to top off and it would have been easier had we been able to do it at New Bight. :( Still, I would definitely go back... maybe Nassau this time or Freeport for some real power shopping and a spa day! :) Nothing better than looking fabulous on vacation in the Bahamas!
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