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November 2021 Mayor of the Avenue... MommyBird (Debbie)

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expressmailtome

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Our "Mayor of the Avenue" award is presented to a member who exhibits the qualities that distinguish them to be an upstanding credit to the Avenue, a loving, informed, conscientious and caring bird parront and an all around good neighbor.

I am happy to announce that MommyBird is November's Mayor of the Month.
I enjoyed reading your interview, and am sure that everyone else will as well!

1. What kind of birds do you have (age, species and names)?

Sunny, Goffin’s Cockatoo, male about 37 years old (wild-caught)
Jimi, Hahn’s Macaw, male 17 years old
Walker, Jenday Conure, male 26 years old
Polly, Orange-wing Amazon, female about 51 years old (wild-caught)
Pepper, Blue-Fronted Amazon, female about 30 years old

And gone but not forgotten are Will (Blue-crowned Conure), Chico (Blue-Fronted Amazon), Jorja (Blue-headed Pionus) and budgies: Twinkles, Bob, Honey, Kirby, Midas, Wicket, Gwen & Percy (English), and Blue


2. What got you interested in birds?


My Mom had a canary when I was born and he was often my destination when crawling and as a toddler. When I was around 8-10 my sister bought me a yellow budgie for Christmas, who lived to see me into college. Then when I married and we left for grad school 600 miles away I became very homesick. My husband found a small pet shop where the owner walked around with a parrotlet peeking out of his pocket and Bob the budgie joined our much-happier home.


3. What have your birds brought to your life?

Laughter and tears and a flock to be part of. After my husband died they were the only thing that kept me going.

4. What have you learned from sharing your life with your birds?


You don’t need words to communicate.
I’ve also learned patience and how to better control my energy level/moods around them.


5. What's one birdie memory that will stay with you forever?


There are so many in over 50 years of their companionship.
One with a large cast of characters .... I’ve always depended on Jimi and Sunny to keep an eye out their big window and let me know when delivery trucks arrive or deer/elk are near my gardens. I always thank them for their alarm calls.

One day I had them both outside in the aviary and I was sitting in there with them. Suddenly Jimi welded himself to my shoulder and started his alarm call at full volume right by my ear. A deer was leisurely grazing and had wandered into sight. Never one to miss a reason to scream, Sunny joined in enthusiastically. Birds do understand an alarm call no matter who is making it, so very quickly we were all surrounded by a large murder of crows, also calling as loud as they could to warn the world of impending doom.

At this point the deer decided there was really something very wrong and dangerous quite nearby but she couldn’t find it and did not not want to run the wrong direction. So she stood there in classic “deer-in-the-headlights” pose. And Jimi kept the alarm call going without missing a beat so everyone else did too. I could not extricate myself from both Jimi and Sunny at this point as there was no way they were going to sit on a perch, so I couldn’t exit the aviary and chase the deer. (Deer and Elk have zero fear of humans here so you are not considered a threat unless you are running towards them).

Eventually the crows, being the smart birds they are, decided they could not find the threat either regardless of what those other two said and they slowly flew off, the deer decided the danger was gone and grazed on out of sight and I was able to sit down and listen to the ringing in my ears.


6. Where is your birds main living area?


I have a split-level house. The boys are in an upper level large bedroom with great windows and the girls are in the large lower level rec room with 2 walls that are mostly windows. Upstairs I have also converted another bedroom into a TV/toy-making/sewing room where they hang out with me for some one-on-one time.


7. Did you change things in your home to accommodate your birds and if so what kinds of things did you change?

No real changes beyond strategic placement of plexiglass for birdproofing. I suppose I wouldn’t have as many air filters, humidifiers, and towels on the sofa either.

8. Are you involved in any kind of bird related group or activities?


I volunteered at The Gabriel Foundation for several years during the non-snowy months. It is over 60 miles away though so as gas prices, traffic, and road construction increased I could no longer afford the time and increased my financial support instead.
I am also a member of our local Audubon club.


9. What is the one luxury item you would love to have for your bird(s)?

I have all the things we could want. The only thing the flock would like is more of my time. So I wish there was a way to duplicate myself to make that happen.

10. Is there any bird that you dream of owning and if so why?

No, I love the fairly randomly acquired ones I’m with and have enjoyed their unique personalities and challenges.

11. Describe a typical day with you at home with your birds.


I get up shortly after 5am. I find quiet things to do like computer and paperwork, and whenever possible I go work outside for an hour or two. I make breakfasts and get birds up sometime after 8. I usually eat breakfast and supper with the boys and lunch with the girls (the Amazons). They also get a small evening snack before bed.

They are all senior birds and some are on meds so those are done morning and if needed again in the evening.

Mornings I get the boys out individually and they are in and out several times during the day. I clean their cages in the morning. If weather permits, they use the aviary in the mornings. Walker especially loves to be out so I always get him outside daily in season. I am always outside with them when birds are in the aviary. They are usually ready to nap around lunch when I go hang out with the girls.

The Amazons are not morning people so I deliver breakfast and let them both out of their cages all day unless I need to go out to run errands. I spend time with them around lunch and in the evenings when I also clean their cages. They go outside in the aviary after lunch when possible.

It’s a juggling act but not as complicated as it may sound.


12. What have you learned about owning birds that you would like to share?


They are watching you! They know your body language. They know your habits.
They want to know what happens next. Talk to them all the time and tell them what you are doing. Learn their body language. Use clicker training correctly not because you can teach them tricks but because it teaches YOU how to communicate with them and gives them a way to figure out what you want and how to communicate with you.


13. If you knew then what you know now about birds, what would you do differently?


“Then” was way before the internet and there was little information about diet available. I don’t even know if pellets were around. Ideas about training were different. The large strong cages common now weren’t easily found. “Then” was a different world.
Of course better info and products are available now, but the thing that really gave structure to my own thinking and practices was the ABC’s (Antecedents, Behavior, Consequences). I took Susan Friedman’s course and suggest you check out
Welcome to BehaviorWorks.org.

14. What other hobbies do you have?


My mom and dad were gardeners and I’m a retired Research Botanist. So I garden. Indoor plants in soil and hydroponics, outdoor vegetable garden and 3 different flower gardens based on microclimates for food for wild perching birds, hummingbirds, and pollinators. I actually enjoy weeding.
I also like reading, cooking, sewing quilts, and trying new crafts.


15. Anything else you would like to share?


It’s easy to anthropomorphize our modern dinosaurs. But never forget they are wild animals trying to live in our world. Love them as individuals.

I’d like to share this quote that still gives me chills, especially the last 2 sentences:
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

― Henry Beston, The Outermost House
 

April

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Congratulations! What a lovely interview,I loved learning more about you and your flock :heart:
 

Zara

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Congratulations! Fantastic interview, I really enjoyed reading more about your birds :)

Birds do understand an alarm call no matter who is making it, so very quickly we were all surrounded by a large murder of crows, also calling as loud as they could to warn the world of impending doom.
:lol:

It’s easy to anthropomorphize our modern dinosaurs. But never forget they are wild animals trying to live in our world. Love them as individuals.
Very well said :heart2:
 

Hankmacaw

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Congratulations, MommyBird. It was unrecognizable 26 years ago when I began my life with birds - it must have been a different world 50 years ago.
 

Greylady1966

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Congratulations, I enjoyed your interview. I can just picture the deer staring at you! I imagine your ears were really ringing for awhile. Enjoy your day.
 

sunnysmom

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Congratulations! I enjoyed learning about your flock! I think we need pictures. :)
 

Tiel Feathers

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:congrats5:
I loved reading your interview!
 

macawpower58

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I also began my life with birds about 26 years ago.
So much has changed. I bet you can tell stories for hours!
I can't think of a better person for this award.
Congratulations!!
 

BirdG1rl

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:cngrt5:
 

Clueless

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Great interview! I still remember my first Amazon alarm call.
 
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