Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
- Real Name
It is with great pleasure that I announce the
Celebirdy for the month of April 2019,
Chico is so excited to be a celebirdy! Thank you for choosing him.
1. How did you acquire your bird?
Chico (Panama Amazon) was given to me by a friend, Mandy, who also gave me Ollie (Orange-winged Amazon) some years earlier. I was warned Chico hated human females, had bad arthritis in his legs and was only partially sighted.
Chico had belonged to an elderly couple for most of his life. When they died he was passed down through their family. He ended up with the granddaughter who was going to euthanize him because she hated him. Mandy saved him in the nick of time.
Because Chico was extremely aggressive towards female humans, Mandy first gave him to a male friend. However, when she visited Chico a year later, she was furious to find he had been horribly neglected and had a new injury – a ruptured air sac in his cheek. Mandy took him back and that was when I happened to contact her. I was looking for an Amazon friend for Ollie.
2. What is your bird's name, species, age and sex?
Chico is a male Panama Amazon, and at least 53 years old.
3. Does your bird do any special tricks?
Chico stations at one end of the cage for head skritches so that I can clean the other side. I taught this out of necessity as at the beginning Chico would follow my voice, aggressively trying to bite at me. Cleaning the cage was extremely difficult!
He targets my tapping finger (his eyesight is deteriorating – he is almost blind now) for a treat.
He will drink from a syringe which is very useful for meds.
Last but not least I am teaching him to sing The Chico Song!
4. What are some of your bird's favorite foods?
Grapes, banana, kamut and sunflower sprouts, fresh pumpkin seeds with strings attached, corn, mashed sweet potato, cooked adzuki beans, wholegrain toast. He loves French fries so I sometimes add half a low salt, low fat, oven baked one to his evening meal.
5. What is the funniest thing your bird has done?
When he practices his opera singer’s warble or has a laughing session, it cracks me up every time.
6. How has your bird enriched your life?
Gradually gaining Chico's trust has been pretty amazing. He was so aggressive towards me in the beginning. I was overwhelmed the first time he greeted me in the same way he greets his favoured male humans. With a trill whilst coyly scratching the side of his face. It’s only taken 5 years!
Having a disabled bird has taught me to be creative with his living quarters. I made him a platform because he falls so often. A lot of time has been taken up with getting the right perches (he can't open his feet to stand on platforms) and making a box for him to rest his tail and butt on when asleep at night as he tends to slide off his perch backwards as the locking mechanism in his feet doesn't work.
7. What would you tell people who are considering this species?
Do you have the time and space for a social and active bird who needs love, attention and exercise (preferably in the form of flight)? Do you have the patience and understanding to deal with yearly hormonal behaviour? A mature male can be a dangerous bird, as can some females. Are you willing to commit to a bird with a lifespan of over 60 years? I love Amazons because what you see is what you get. Their body language is easy to read. They live life with huge enthusiasm.
8. What is the activity and noise level of your bird?
Even though Chico is disabled he is still a busy bird. He explores every inch of his cage and plays with most of the toys. He also likes shredding paper, cardboard and wood especially when hormones are up. He tends to nap for a while after meals. He can be loud when he wants something, but not as loud as my other two Amazons.
9. What are some of your bird's quirks?
Chico loves bathing in his water dish. In the last couple of years he likes to hold a shouty conversation with me whilst I’m in the kitchen making his breakfast. If I don’t respond he will say ‘hello?’ in every way he can think of until I do – he can get very creative which is why I thought he’d be good at singing.
10. If your bird talks, what is the most surprising word or sentence it has said?
I am surprised at his age he is learning to say new things. Chico talks in the voice of an old lady with a strong Liverpudlian accent. When he first arrived he would only call for ‘Ara ‘Ara ‘Arold? Slowly more words and sentences have surfaced. It was pretty surprising the first time he had a one sided phone conversation: “Hello? Eh? What? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! Alright. Alright, luv. Alright, I gotta go, I gotta go now.” I was very surprised at him shouting “I want to get out!!” It’s like I am getting snippets of his past life.
11. What is your bird’s favorite treat?
Sometimes it’s a piece of low salt corncake spread with some almond butter. Other times it’s a pistachio nut or a tiny 3mm square of goat’s cheese.