My Life, With Birds (Volume 2)
Rosalita Consuela Chiquita Banana
Her name was Tinkerbell. She has bright lime green feathers along her body, a hint of turquoise along the wings and tail, and a black head. Oh, and red 'socks' right above her ankle on her legs. Rosie looking socks. So we named her Rose.
"I love you, bye-bye," is usually what I hear when I go out the door to head off to work, thanks to Rose. Sometimes she just screams as loudly as she can to warn my neighbors that I'm leaving the building.
Before I go any further, I should say, she's my mother's bird. She'll tolerate me, she likes me a little, but mom is hers, and she is mom's, and she lets me know that. If mom's sitting in one room, Rose will walk around the house to find her, and crawl up her leg with her beak and toenails until mom puts her on her shoulder. If she feels lonely, she'll waddle out to the livingroom to see if mom's there, look up at me, and as soon as I tell her "Grandma's at work" she waddles back to her cage.
She wasn't always the sweetheart she is today.
Tinkerbell belonged to one of the dog groomers who worked at the place I did my grooming academy at. She was nineteen, had a full-time job and went to college, and had a social life. She didn't have time for a bird, and she knew it. The girl, several years younger than me in age, had gotten the bird from a breeder - she had been a breeder bird, which meant little human contact except when it was time to take her eggs away to go hand raise those for babies to sell.
She loved Tinkerbell, and only wanted the best for her. So when she heard that I had a bird (Orsino), she asked if I (or anyone I knew) would take her bird. It wasn't fair to her not to be able to spend time together, and she wanted a good home for the 6 1/2 year old conure. I had no idea what a conure was, except for those little green-cheeked ones they sell sometimes in stores. I figured it was one of those, but the girl didn't know what species she was, so she couldn't tell me.
I accepted, since I had Orsino, and figured mom would like a companion, and we could share them both, and Orsino could use a companion while we were gone during the day, someone to talk to from across the room (differeing species should be caged seperately, after all).
Then came the day when the groomer brought her in, and I realized this bird was about five times the size I thought she was. She was also fully-flighted, which I knew would be an issue since we'd just moved into a new apartment that had ceiling fans, and she was in the process of a full molt. Her pinfeathers were outrageous. But, otherwise, she was in good shape - the girl loved her, she just wasn't entirely sure how to take care of her. So, in April 2009, I took Rosie home with me.
The first thing that had to go were the wingfeathers - we clipped her wings so she couldn't get caught in a ceiling fan and die. Then she got a bath, a cage cleaning, and some pin-feather help. And then... we had to get rid of that name. Even she didn't seem to like it or respond to it. A day or two after we started calling her Rosie, after her little red socks, she was responding to it.
Life with Rosie
It took us a while to gain her trust, and longer to trust her after some of the things she did that first year. She almost pierced my lip, mom's nose, she was tempramental - this is what happens when you try to deal with a bird that isn't hand-raised and make her hand-friendly.
It can be done, but it can hurt a lot along the way. There are many times when we wondered - and still sometimes do - if she wouldn't be better off living in a bird sanctuary, but... now it's far too late to actually do it. We love her too much.
She hasn't bitten anyone in about a year, and we've had her three now. She still screams whenever she hears water, and if someone is in the parking lot behind our apartment and she's near the window, she freaks out. She's a bit neurotic, which is probably why she fits in with us so well, but she's made remarkable progress.
It took a long time, but she's made progress.
Now she's a good companion - if a little bit clingy with mom, sometimes drives her crazy following her around the house. She'll shower with you, have conversations with you. Just taking the photo on the right, she actually didn't go for the camera or try to bite me for getting too close to her cage. She still doesn't always want my attention, but she's much more domesticated.
Keep in mind, if you're looking for a bird, that Nandays can be a little unpredictable, and they pack a huge beak - bigger beak = bigger bite. If you have small children that you know are gonna start pulling on their tail feathers because that's what kids do - might not be the best pet for your family.
They are also insanely intelligent.
There was one day when our baby (at the time) lovebird went over and started playing in Rosie's cage while Rose was sitting on mom's shoulder watching tv with us. Mom got up to go to the kitchen, and passed Rose's cage - the conversation went something like this:
Mom: Uh-oh, Rose, looks like someone's playing in your cage.
Rose: That's fine.
Me: Did she just say 'that's fine'?
Mom: (laughing) I swear she did. Rosie, that's okay with you that she's in there?
Rose: Yeah, 's'okay.
Mom: You're sure.
Mom: Okay, as long as you're alright with it.
Rose: Yeah, 's'okay.
Living with Rosie is a trip sometimes, and now that she's coming around to being a more reasonable creature than she was when we first started out with her, she's really a joy to be around. Except when you turn on the sink faucet...
The Skinny on Nandays
Personality: Independant but loving, smart, but sassy, silly, and ... well, strange, really. Every Nanday I've met has been a little 'off' in the psychology department in one way or another. Can be temperamental on occasion. Can be highly intelligent on occasion, it seems to depend on their mood. I (rather poorly) compare her to an Alzheimer's patient - some days she has are very clear days and some days the lights are on but nobody's home. One day she's obviously an animal, the next she'll have a conversation with you that actually seems to make a little sense.
Bite: Powerful and insanely harmful if they ever decide to use it.
Mischief Quotient: relatively low.
Trainability: decent. When we got her, she knew some words and phrases from a previous owner, like "night-night" - now when we say "night-night" to her she knows to go into her cage so we can close the door and put the blankets over, because it's time to go to bed.
Volume Level: Very high. Nandays are screamers, they like to be heard, and they're big enough to get very loud. She's given me migranes on more than one occasion.