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The bird chooses the caretaker?

IanJ

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Ian
Hi everyone!

I wonder if anyone wanted to share stories of where “the bird chooses the caretaker”?

I’ve started my search for a feathery companion in earnest and I’ve been surprised in the process!

I’d been targeting Green Cheek Conures and Cockatiels, but I’ve been sideswiped by two Caiqes and a Lorikeet.

In all occasions the Cockatiels and GCC’s have been ok, but seemed a bit indifferent and needed encouragement to step up and interact with me.

On the other hand the caiques and the lorikeet practically threw themselves on me and were adorable from the outset.

I’d have brought the Lorikeet, but a bit of research told me they were unsuitable. I couldn’t keep up with the diet and I rent a place and the projectile poop didn’t sound very compatible.

I’m now researching Caiques in a lot more detail and they might be a match.

Buuuut, I’d not really considered these birds prior to this and they just sort of happily wanted to get to know me… and suddenly I remembered I’d heard a lot about the idea that the bird chooses the caretaker!

I’d love to hear if there were similar stories and how they played out!!
 

OrangIsld

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not sure if this counts, but i really love this story - benjamin did choose his owner in a way. (sorry if this is a double post, my internets pretty funky so im retyping just in case)
 

flyzipper

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Two stories from me.

Marvin was my first bird, and at the time I was convinced she chose me based on her affectionate behaviour in the shop when we met. Fast forward to recently when I went into another shop and a different very affectionate GCC behaved similarly. When I remarked about the bird to the shop's owner, her response was, "Oh yeah, that one loves everyone".

Oscar came from a household where his previous male guardian insisted that Oscar didn't like men and was apprehensive about me as the new caregiver. The man treated Oscar as if he didn't like men, so it became a self-reinforcing belief that didn't promote a health relationship. Oscar was neutral to me at first, but now actively seeks me out to spend time together (I typed this with one hand while he was perched and preening on my other).

Would Marvin have been happy with anyone?
Would Oscar have preferred a woman caregiver?

I have no way of knowing, but both are well-adjusted and healthy with me, and we enjoy a strong relationship.

The key is the ongoing daily work you put into the relationship after the bird comes home with you, rather than that initial spark (or lack thereof).
 

FiatLux

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I am not sure how much these stories illustrate whether or not, I was chosen by these particular birds, but I will say that my birds’ interactions with me when I was looking to add to my family definitely sealed the deal. In the first instance I had convinced myself through research that I should get a Parrotlet and started spending every weekend in a bird store that had baby parrotlets for sale. It took only a couple of visits for me to have my attention drawn away from the parrotlets to the green cheek conure in the cage next to the parrotlets.
In the second instance, I was researching all kinds of species, but the one species I knew I did not want to get was a cockatiel. I however, was spending every Saturday volunteering at a bird breeders shop, and one of my duties was to interact with all of the baby birds. Every weekend one particular cockatiel seemed very excited to see me and spend time with me and would jump up to get onto me whenever she saw me. Guess what species I added to my family?
 

IanJ

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Ha ha that’s exactly what I mean!

I have tried to convince myself that green cheek conures are the way to go for me, but I’ve twice been attracted to caiques who’ve literally thrown themselves on my shoulder
 

Spearmint

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When I had the choice between Spearmint and his sister, I would absolutely say Spearmint chose me. The female wanted nothing to do with me, but Spearmint was all over my head, preening me etc etc. The female was the one I wanted though, she was stunning, but Spearmint and I connected much better than me and the female.
 

Trent84

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Ahah, my story is very similar and is about a caique too.

I am a new parrot owner and I was stunned by Alex's story, so I was totally going for a grey at the beginning. When I went to the parrot shop, I've had a quite bad moment when a quite territorial Macaw (which I had never seen before and I was a little bit intimidated by) jumped on my shoulder and pinched my skin with the beach and nails to stabilize himself -after all, he wasn't aggressive and he didn't hurt me at all considering its size. On top of that, all the parrots in the shop started screaming for a good 2 minutes, and they were MANY and LOUD.
Needless to say from that moment on I was totally petrified and I couldn't think straight anymore.
And suddenly, I see this little thing chewing on my shoelace and looking at me. I then climbed something in the room to get in front of me, I showed him my finger and he just came, playing with my watch and just enjoying the attention. He didn't leave me until I had to go.
I took 1+ year to do my research, read books, make sure I was ready for a parrot and I still wanted a grey, but it didn't work out eventually as the CITES burocracy is just too slow here in Italy and there are no parrot shelters here yet to adopt one.
The breeder said that he just had 2 newborn caiques, and that was the final sign I was looking for. I'm sold!

The key is the ongoing daily work you put into the relationship after the bird comes home with you, rather than that initial spark (or lack thereof).
That's so true and well-spoken, thank you for this!
I'd also say that training is a wonderful tool to create a bond and stimulate the bird. It's incredible how willing they are to have our undivided attention and how
My mum adopted a GCC which was poorly treated, all plucked and he picked on his skin too. Also, he was so fearful and nippy as he was very scared of hands - he threw blood more than once.
With patience, time, mistakes, and sunflower seeds, he finally is much better, I taught him to wave and he now perches on my finger (sometimes). It was a rollercoaster, but I'd say he's a little spunky guy with a lot of personality and, after all, a very outgoing, playful, and engaging little bird when correctly handled. Not too loud and very very pretty to see. By personal experience, they're labeled as "nippy" because they can't really control their beak force and they're just going 100% all the time, good or bad.
 

IanJ

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When I had the choice between Spearmint and his sister, I would absolutely say Spearmint chose me. The female wanted nothing to do with me, but Spearmint was all over my head, preening me etc etc. The female was the one I wanted though, she was stunning, but Spearmint and I connected much better than me and the female.
That’s so cute!
Is spearmint a Conure?
 

IanJ

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Ahah, my story is very similar and is about a caique too.

I am a new parrot owner and I was stunned by Alex's story, so I was totally going for a grey at the beginning. When I went to the parrot shop, I've had a quite bad moment when a quite territorial Macaw (which I had never seen before and I was a little bit intimidated by) jumped on my shoulder and pinched my skin with the beach and nails to stabilize himself -after all, he wasn't aggressive and he didn't hurt me at all considering its size. On top of that, all the parrots in the shop started screaming for a good 2 minutes, and they were MANY and LOUD.
Needless to say from that moment on I was totally petrified and I couldn't think straight anymore.
And suddenly, I see this little thing chewing on my shoelace and looking at me. I then climbed something in the room to get in front of me, I showed him my finger and he just came, playing with my watch and just enjoying the attention. He didn't leave me until I had to go.
I took 1+ year to do my research, read books, make sure I was ready for a parrot and I still wanted a grey, but it didn't work out eventually as the CITES burocracy is just too slow here in Italy and there are no parrot shelters here yet to adopt one.
The breeder said that he just had 2 newborn caiques, and that was the final sign I was looking for. I'm sold!


That's so true and well-spoken, thank you for this!
I'd also say that training is a wonderful tool to create a bond and stimulate the bird. It's incredible how willing they are to have our undivided attention and how
My mum adopted a GCC which was poorly treated, all plucked and he picked on his skin too. Also, he was so fearful and nippy as he was very scared of hands - he threw blood more than once.
With patience, time, mistakes, and sunflower seeds, he finally is much better, I taught him to wave and he now perches on my finger (sometimes). It was a rollercoaster, but I'd say he's a little spunky guy with a lot of personality and, after all, a very outgoing, playful, and engaging little bird when correctly handled. Not too loud and very very pretty to see. By personal experience, they're labeled as "nippy" because they can't really control their beak force and they're just going 100% all the time, good or bad.
That’s lovely!!
Actually, I’m really drawn to Caiques, and I’ve had two very confidently introduce themselves to me on my travels, but I’m not convinced I am ready or appropriate.
I work from the office 2 or 3 days a week and socialise usually one of the days over the weekend and I understand Caiques need near permanent interaction.
I’ve also read a number of complete horror stories of Caiques being a total Jekyll and Hyde species with some shocking attacks and owners losing complete confidence… too many for them to feel like isolated cases.
 

Xoetix

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I kind of had that happen with Isadora, my cockatoo!

I wasn't the first person her previous owners had talked to about rehoming her - they'd met a few others, and in every case Isadora either ignored them completely, or tried to kill them (one guy was apparently attacked the second he stepped into the room). With me, she wouldn't stop talking to me, dancing, and just being goofy. She stepped up, let me pet her head, and was amazing from the get go.
 

Elysian

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I haven't exactly had one of those moments.. and I still kind of hope I will someday.. but I'm pretty sure I *witnessed* one of those moments.

When I was ready for a parrot bigger than a budgie I was really hoping to stumble upon a bird that chose me.
Right at the beginning of my search I met a young blue headed Pionus at a pet shop that seemed excited to see me and said "hello!", but I didn't know how rare that was going to be for me. I also wasn't prepared to spend $4,000 on a whim..
I did go back to ask about him two days later but he was already sold.

Then I met a LOT of birds who did not care about me or were very afraid of me, or bit me quite badly.

When I got approved at our overbooked rescue, I was hoping to find another Pionus.. but they kept getting snatched up before I could visit them. I was a bit desperate when I finally got an appointment to visit and browse..
That's when I saw an amazon who had eyes like fire. He was quiet and he was in a dim cage in the corner, but he instantly came forward and clung to the front of the cage bars, watching every move with those flaming eyes. I asked about him and the volunteer showing us around said she was afraid of him and didn't trust him at all. I cautiously reached out to touch his foot and he didn't pull away.
There was also a senegal who called out to me - he came over to his cage bars and said a few words.
None of the other birds interacted with me at all.

I came back to visit both the next day and decide between them - but when they let me review their intake papers, I found out they came from the same house. I decided then and there to get both of them. The Amazon was being less interactive this day, and as I talked to him sweetly he suddenly shot out and bit me sharply through the cage bars.
I signed the papers anyway.

Once I got them home it became pretty apparent that the Amazon was *never* interested in me at all.
The whole time he had been eyeing my HUSBAND who was standing behind me during that first visit :laugh:
Also turns out that "he" is female.
I am still her main caretaker, but I have to be careful. She will bite me in a heart beat. But she loooves my husband so much, and is so gentle and sweet with him.
I'm glad we have her and she is safe, even though the person she picked was not me.
She definitely picked him out of everyone at the shelter though! Until she met my husband, everyone just thought she was quiet and scary.
 

Aestatis

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I am a big believer in letting the bird choose you - if I got another baby I would prefer to pick a fledged one, not put a deposit down. But, I think the choosing process looks different depending on the species and situation (baby vs rescue). I think less outgoing birds like cockatiels will be more subtle than a confident caique.

My first cockatiel, Major was at a show with a breeder. She caught my eye since she was off away from her siblings. I put my hand in the cage and eventually she decided to climb on. I had her for 20 years and many people commented on our bond. Yes, I did pick her out, but she did make the choice to come to me.

My second cockatiel, Candela, is a rescue. I decided I couldn't leave without her, but she never made a big show of jumping on me or anything like that. But, she was willing to eat from my hand and was happy to nibble on the adoption paperwork as I was signing. When I brought her home she didn't want to be touched, but whenever I left the room she called for me. The next day, I was able to pet her (though since having her home she has let other people pet her). We are still working on our relationship, but it is clear she is happy to be around me even if she doesn't trust me completely.

I think you should see what species fits you the best, and if that happens to be a species that is a bit more cautious/shy then just be ready to look for subtle signs of interest. I definitely get the appeal of the unambigous "HEY OVER HERE" that some species give. It's too cute when you go up to a cage of Lorikeets or Caiques and see them all rush to get close to you. :roflmao:
 

C Sea

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not sure if this counts, but i really love this story - benjamin did choose his owner in a way. (sorry if this is a double post, my internets pretty funky so im retyping just in case)
Yes Benjamin did find me and we are doing pretty good together
 

Emma&pico

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I’ve had it happen with my budgie years ago we went to pet shop for dog supplies and there was a cage full of budgies as I walk up one jumped forward clung onto side of cages whistling me and my son put our fingers to him and he licked us bowed his head for a scratch (which he never ever did again wasn’t cuddly just loved to be with us all time ) he followed us when we were looking at others would not get of cage bars

we walked away and he was whistling away jumped back on perch we went back to look and he did same thing so we asked to take him the shop owner open door get catch him he was out in a second on my son finger didn’t fly off let my son put him in little box and he came home with us

he ever ever landed on my husband or was bothered by him it was always me and my son probably more my son he would get so excited when he came home from school and had a certain whistle/beep noise for him

I loved that little budgie until he died at 8/9years but could have been older as he came from an aviary to pet shop definitely wasn’t a baby as had no baby bars I thing I didn’t know then
 

IanJ

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I’ve had it happen with my budgie years ago we went to pet shop for dog supplies and there was a cage full of budgies as I walk up one jumped forward clung onto side of cages whistling me and my son put our fingers to him and he licked us bowed his head for a scratch (which he never ever did again wasn’t cuddly just loved to be with us all time ) he followed us when we were looking at others would not get of cage bars

we walked away and he was whistling away jumped back on perch we went back to look and he did same thing so we asked to take him the shop owner open door get catch him he was out in a second on my son finger didn’t fly off let my son put him in little box and he came home with us

he ever ever landed on my husband or was bothered by him it was always me and my son probably more my son he would get so excited when he came home from school and had a certain whistle/beep noise for him

I loved that little budgie until he died at 8/9years but could have been older as he came from an aviary to pet shop definitely wasn’t a baby as had no baby bars I thing I didn’t know then
That is SO cute!!
 

IanJ

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I am a big believer in letting the bird choose you - if I got another baby I would prefer to pick a fledged one, not put a deposit down. But, I think the choosing process looks different depending on the species and situation (baby vs rescue). I think less outgoing birds like cockatiels will be more subtle than a confident caique.

My first cockatiel, Major was at a show with a breeder. She caught my eye since she was off away from her siblings. I put my hand in the cage and eventually she decided to climb on. I had her for 20 years and many people commented on our bond. Yes, I did pick her out, but she did make the choice to come to me.

My second cockatiel, Candela, is a rescue. I decided I couldn't leave without her, but she never made a big show of jumping on me or anything like that. But, she was willing to eat from my hand and was happy to nibble on the adoption paperwork as I was signing. When I brought her home she didn't want to be touched, but whenever I left the room she called for me. The next day, I was able to pet her (though since having her home she has let other people pet her). We are still working on our relationship, but it is clear she is happy to be around me even if she doesn't trust me completely.

I think you should see what species fits you the best, and if that happens to be a species that is a bit more cautious/shy then just be ready to look for subtle signs of interest. I definitely get the appeal of the unambigous "HEY OVER HERE" that some species give. It's too cute when you go up to a cage of Lorikeets or Caiques and see them all rush to get close to you. :roflmao:
Ah this is so lovely! Yes I’m seeing there are differences with the species! I adore Caiques and had one immediately jump on my shoulder in a shop, but I’m quite worried about their Jekyll and Hyde reputation. There are some horror stories and they are the species I see coming up all the time in the behaviour forums! They seem to be the most likely bird to turn nasty at puberty, which is a shame. I’d consider a more mature one, but it seems such a risk with babies and I’m not sure I’d have thick enough skin to deal with regular hard caique bites
 

IanJ

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So it didn’t ‘quite’ go like I thought it would.

I met a Caique and I really loved him and he seemed to take to me, but it just didn’t work out.

The shop keeper, to his credit, disclosed that the bird had seemed to take a dislike to some of the female staff in the shop and one customer that came in.

I sought a whole ton of opinions and on reflection, I don’t think a caique would be a good fit for me as a beginner and his beak did intimidate me a little.

I popped by a local shop today and they’d just received some hand reared conures and one was slightly timid, but very relaxed when he came on to me and was a bit mischievous in the shop when it came to being put away again!

But the mischief was in fact a blessing, because the shop keeper encouraged me with guidance to work with the bird to retrieve it at get it back in to the aviary.

It gave me huge confidence in handling the bird and then when I returned to the aviary, it stepped up without hesitating, took snacks from me and happily shoulder surfed with me for 15 mins or so and then it just happily laid in the palm of my hand on his back, totally relaxed.

He was relaxed, I was relaxed and whilst he didn’t ‘choose’ me, we were both very much at ease and so I decided to buy him.

His name is Gizmo …
 

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Aestatis

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So it didn’t ‘quite’ go like I thought it would.

I met a Caique and I really loved him and he seemed to take to me, but it just didn’t work out.

The shop keeper, to his credit, disclosed that the bird had seemed to take a dislike to some of the female staff in the shop and one customer that came in.

I sought a whole ton of opinions and on reflection, I don’t think a caique would be a good fit for me as a beginner and his beak did intimidate me a little.

I popped by a local shop today and they’d just received some hand reared conures and one was slightly timid, but very relaxed when he came on to me and was a bit mischievous in the shop when it came to being put away again!

But the mischief was in fact a blessing, because the shop keeper encouraged me with guidance to work with the bird to retrieve it at get it back in to the aviary.

It gave me huge confidence in handling the bird and then when I returned to the aviary, it stepped up without hesitating, took snacks from me and happily shoulder surfed with me for 15 mins or so and then it just happily laid in the palm of my hand on his back, totally relaxed.

He was relaxed, I was relaxed and whilst he didn’t ‘choose’ me, we were both very much at ease and so I decided to buy him.

His name is Gizmo …
That's awesome! Personally, I think Gizmo chose you in his own way. Despite being a bit timid, he didn't want to be put away, and when you returned he was happy to come to you, eat, and even laid in your hand! Maybe I don't know conures enough, but seems like he must like you if he did that on the second visit. :DCongratulations!
 

MnGuy

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I think it makes a lot of sense to adopt a bird that seems drawn to you, but for all the angsty, angry birds out there, I have to say that it can also work out perfectly fine when you meet a bird who wants nothing to do with you.

My first parrot as an adult was a 17 year old Meyer's I met at a rescue group. She was part of a hoarding situation and was rejected by a pair of Meyer's she came in with. She hated me and was angry and bit me all of the time.

I fostered her for a few months and then decided to adopt her because no one was ever interested in her at adoption events, and I didn't think anyone would ever look past her anger/fear/whatever you'd like to call it.

But she turned out to be a super loving and friendly bird a few months down the line. She was even calm and friendly with guests to my house for many years until her death in her late 20s.

I recently adopted an Indian ringneck who flew around in circles avoiding me and his owner when I went over to visit him. He refused to go back in his cage, as if he knew something was up. But he quickly bonded with me once I got him home.
 
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