Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another new addition

During the interim years, we began volunteering at a local parrot rescue. Although it was hard not to take every bird home, we successfully resisted until March 2004 when an adorable 9 year old black-headed caique was surrendered. Max had been an only big bird for over 2 years when we brought Calypso home.

Calypso did not have a happy start to his life. We don't know much about his past. We do know that he was kept covered, sometimes all day long, to help control his noise. This still baffles me because caiques are not very loud birds! He was fed a poor diet consisting mostly of sunflower seeds and peanuts. When he first came to our house, he would climb down off of his cage, walk into the corner, sway gently, and repeat "Shut up! Stop it! Shut up! Stop it!" over and over. It was heartbreaking.

We converted him to a healthy pelleted diet, supplemented by fresh fruits and vegetables. He was no longer covered and had a cage more than twice the size of his previous cage that was filled with toys. Things were going well. Then, one morning, we awoke to find this:

Now that he was receiving what he needed, after being deprived for so long, his hormones went out of control! Overnight, he had ripped out all of the orange leg feathers on his legs and mutilated sores into each leg. We rushed him to the vet. We placed a collar on him so that he could not mutilate his legs anymore. He was quite upset with having to wear the collar, but after a few hours (maybe more like a day), he got used to it and was able to maneuver normally. After the sores healed, we removed the collar. He allowed his feathers to grow back in, and we have not had any problems with him since then (so far it's been 3 years).
Max was not entirely happy with this arrangement, but we made sure to treat her as first among equals so as not to lose her favored status in the house. And in 2005, Calypso would save Max's life.

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