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Thread: Greetings from North Idaho!

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg
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    Nicole
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    Greetings from North Idaho!

    Hello fellow bird lovers! I have a special soft, squishy spot in my heart for birds & I'm happy to have found a forum full of others with the same weakness. I've raised a few cockatiels & parakeets as a kid but my husband (Spencer) & I just brought home an older Lilac-crowned Amazon by the name of Groucho last August & every day since then has been an adventure! I had a pretty good idea what we were getting into since Groucho came from my aunt & uncle, but his sheer resiliency & intelligence still surprises me every day & I can't wait to share our joys & triumphs or get advice on the hardships I know are still to come.

    To start out with, I want to give you Groucho's history (since he's the real star here!). My aunt rescued the poor boy with a broken wing & a respiratory infection outside their home in California about 15 years ago. No one ever claimed him, so he stayed with them all those years. However, being scared, sick & in pain in an unfamiliar place, he was extremely aggressive from the beginning & that started a downward spiral where my aunt, uncle & cousins didn't want to handle him, which made him more unfriendly & aggressive, which made them avoid him more & so on. The first time I ever met him, about 8 years ago during a family reunion, he was to the point of growling/lunging at most anyone who approached his cage. If said person wasn't scared off, he'd take a superman leap off the top of his cage to get away (he can't fly since the broken wing never healed right so the leap always ended with a thump & running waddle on the floor). I was one of the few who could approach him without the fight/flight response & I was the only one who persisted enough to be able to pet him a little. 

    Long story short, each time my family traveled to Cali. to visit, I made a point to spend some time with Groucho. The last visit, in June '10, when I stopped in to scratch Grouho's head, my uncle snorted & asked, "Why don't you take him home with you already?" And thus began the two month process of planning the 23 hour one-way drive from Post Falls, Idaho to Hawthorne, California & back again. For all the worry that went into the planning, Groucho took the whole thing in stride with barely a grumble on the bumps that jostled his cage. I was also terrified of how Groucho & our cat, Oscar, would manage. But the first time Oscar stood up to sniff the cage, this strange green thing growled & lunged at him at the same time "mom" hissed at him & Oscar decided the newcomer wasn't worth the trouble of investigating.

    Before we brought him home, Groucho was on an all-seed diet because "that's all he'd eat." His cage was open 24/7 & he had free access in & out because no one could make him step up to go into or come out of his cage. He did nothing to attract attention to himself & flinched & growled when anyone came into the room his cage was kept in. He tightened up in fear at every loud noise (& with 6+ people & 2 dogs living in a small house with constant visitors, there were a LOT of loud noises). He had nothing but manzanita branches to chew on "so he wouldn't chew them up so fast." He slept only when it was quiet in the house & he could relax enough to do so. He was very deliberate & careful about climbing around (none of the playfulness you usually see in birds) since he can't fly & was startled off his cage often. He was never bathed & the sight of a spray bottle sent him into a panic attack.

    After 5 months of living with us, Groucho is a TOTALLY different bird! He steps up on command (except when he's being stubborn of course). When he's out of his cage, he hates being left behind in a room so usually moves around the house with Spencer or I. He loves being in the bathroom with me while I get ready in the morning so he can "fight" himself in the mirror or sit on his perch in the kitchen (well away from the stove) while I cook dinner. He's eating Harrison's pellets now though I'm still working on getting him eating fresh fruits & veggies. He goes to his sleep cage by 7:00 every night & is up with me at 6:30 every morning & starts muttering to himself if he's left in "bed" much later. He twists his head around & whines at us when he wants a head scratch & he BEGS for spray-bottle baths. Just within the past couple weeks, he's started hanging upside down from his boing when he's feeling playful or he's too excited about stepping up to climb down within easy reach. He's still cautious of new people coming into the house but if he sees me act friendly toward them, he settles down & only keeps one eye on them, just to make sure they don't sneak up on him.

    It is the greatest feeling in the world to see how happy he is now. When I come home from work each night & call out "Hi Groucho!" he whistles a greeting back & mimics Oscar's, "Hi mom, now feed me!" meows. It's ridiculously heart-warming to see him completely content, fluffed out, dozing on his boing while I read a book. It's hilarious to listen to him "sing" along with the radio while I'm cooking dinner or cleaning the house. It's a round-robin of laughter when I giggle at his antics & he mimics me which makes me laugh harder, which he mimics & so on. We still have our rough moments but overall, bringing Groucho home has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!

  2. #2
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Deanna
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    Re: Greetings from North Idaho!

    Hi Nicole, Welcome to the site!! I love the story of Groucho and it gave me one of the biggest bird smiles I had in a very long time, thanks for sharing it with us. Amazons are such bullies if they want to be but deep inside they are huge love bugs and I am very happy Groucho came home with you. It truly sounds like he is one happy bird now.

    My sister has a Amazon, Mango. I dont know exactly what kind of Amazon Mango is but he is like Groucho, growling and lunging at the world but will bend over to the "right" person to get a good head scratch when he likes you. I get bitten about 50% of the time but still keep trying because when he lets you scratch his fluffy head it is sooo worth it!
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  3. #3
    Breeding SandraK's Avatar
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    Sandra
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    Re: Greetings from North Idaho!

    Hi Nicole, Spencer, Oscar and Groucho and welcome to TF. Groucho's story started sadly but he's a much happier bird because of you and from the sound of it is probably providing more entertainment than the t.v.

    I don't have Amazons but one of my Quakers can imitate my laugh and gets us all to crack up at home when someone drops something, says "oh, s**t" and then the laugh comes from the cage area.

    I'm sure a couple more people will stop in & say "hi"!

  4. #4
    Banned Hatching
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    Marco
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    Re: Greetings from North Idaho!

    welcome to TF

  5. #5
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Deanna
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    Re: Greetings from North Idaho!

    I love the laugh Sandra, that is too funny. Mango laughs when we laugh and it just makes us all laugh harder.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  6. #6
    Banned Hatching
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    Marco
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    Re: Greetings from North Idaho!

    Now, I have ended to read the Groucho's history
    compliments! you have given him an another chance to live better his life!

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