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Moderator: NeapolitanSixth

As far as she can remember, NeapolitanSixth, Nikki, has always wanted a pet bird. Whenever asked whether she was a dog or cat person, she could never really answer the question. Through the years, she has encountered friends with birds and was always very envious. These experiences affirmed her love for birds, but her life changed when she met Martin the cockatiel.

Martin was the pet of Nikki’s eighth grade friend. This friend’s mother had died in a tragic homicide that left her father in jail, and the way this little bird reached out to the broken girl amazed Nikki. He would sing and dance, play tug-o’-war, and bend his little head down for her to scratch. The two were a match made in heaven!

The bond between Martin and the friend made Nikki’s love for parrots turn into something resembling an obsession. She made a promise to herself to be a parrot owner as soon as she could!

This opportunity came during her sophomore year of college in October of 2002, only one month after she moved into an apartment! Not knowing any better, she met and fell in love with Sophie, a feisty female whiteface cockatiel in a pet store that was dingy beyond words. Sophie quickly wiggled her way into Nikki’s heart. Unfortunately by the end of the day, Nikki noticed a sniffle and moisture in Sophie’s nares and quickly headed to the internet to make sure everything was ok. She got conflicting information from different sites, and made an appointment at the local veterinarian’s office. Still not knowing much better, her bird ended up in the care of a vet that only saw birds once in a great while, and Sophie almost died during the visit. Nikki frantically searched for what she thought would just be a “bird specialist” in the area when she stumbled upon Tailfeathers.

Tailfeathers helped Nikki find a qualified avian vet (while 3.5 hours away from school, it was still better than watching Sophie die) and the friendly staff made her feel welcome and not intimidated. For the next year, she continued learning from both the moderators and very friendly and supportive members and was shocked and delighted to learn that she had been chosen to join the moderator staff herself!

This newfound knowledge helped Nikki guide her mother through her own fostering (and eventual adoption) process of Sprite, a parrotlet who seemed to have had her spirit broken, and Alice, a hyper-territorial lovebird. Nikki continues to learn important lessons and information from other members, but is most impressed by the love and support given by all the members to everyone.

Since then, Nikki has worked in a bird store, giving her the opportunity to handfeed babies, help take care of injured parrots, and interact with scared and anti-social birds. Her flock has expanded with Bartok the conure, Stella the Lovebird, and Winston the pionus, a rescue she took in. Winston still has problems trusting people and straying too far from his cage, but with plenty of love and patience, his improvement has been steady and consistent through the past two years. Nikki’s flock has also included an abused fischer’s lovebird, Maurice, and a bourke’s parakeet, Addison. Both passed away, and are still missed terribly.

When not diving head-first into the bird world, Nikki’s other interests include reading, knitting, embroidery, cooking, independent and foreign films, and biology. Having recently gotten married to her college sweetheart (and fellow bird lover) in May 2006, Nikki is an aspiring musicologist and will begin pursuing her master’s degree in music at Louisiana State University in Fall 2006.

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