Ok, I'll fess up, I've been lurking here off and on for a couple of weeks.
Finally got around to taking some pictures of my new bird (who btw is whistling up a storm for all of you out there.)
I had a budgie as a companion for almost 7 years. No warning, no danger signs, no issues, just one morning dead in the bottom of his cage.
I'm home a lot (retired due to health issues) and don't get out a lot so he really was my wingman for a long time. He left a huge aching hole.
So after putting up with me being depressed and in the dumps for several days my wife comes home, says get in the car. Period, no argument, no discussion, just shut up and do it.
Well I had been just starting to think about a replacement bird, Cockatiel's seemed to have it all. Fairly long lived, a bit bigger, and more robust than a budgie. Did some quick looking at cockatiel vs cockatoo. (Ohhh thats WAY too big)
Well my wife marched me into Petco, I wasn't too sure about it, would have prefered to find a breeder.
We came walking up to the bird display and this almost all white (some brownish gray on back bird sees me 20 feet away.
It walks right up to the front of the display cage, cocks its head and looks at me as if to say "well you took your time getting here" Fluffed its feathers out, looked me up and down, "Not much to look at are you, hmmmph, well you'll do."
While I'm trying to find a store clerk it proceeds to put on a strutting display for my wife. (I "think" its a boy, but no I'm not positive.
Amazingly enough, it seems it was one of 4 hand raised baby's delivered to Petco the day before.
Somehow I talked the store salesman into opening the back door, and letting me try to talk to this amazing little bird.
Less than 2 minutes later it had calmly walked over, tasted my fingertips, let itself be skritched around the head, then calmly jumped up onto my fingers and started walking up my arm.
Getting held so the salesman could get a band number recorded was almost a dealbreaker. No one got seriously injured, Cara had a few ruffled feathers, and I had a thumb with a minor hole in it. (no blood, Cara is SO well behaved its amazing)
Its been less than 3 weeks since that afternoon. Cara is now the proud owner of a custom built play area.
The red rope is a piece of hollow braid with a heavy wire slid inside it, giving Cara access to the lowest platform, the spiral ladder to the top. After all birds will end up on the floor, best I felt to make sure they always have a safe way up off it.
The spiral is another piece of the same wire (heavy gauge copper) which I braided towel strips onto, to make a good solid easily grabbed surface for climbing, hooking a beak etc. Then followed up by winding a cotton string to make sure it couldn't slip, slide or entangle. Its secured to the pvc pipe with some 2" deck screws, then zip tied into place, and surfaces covered.
Still thinking about what I want to do in the middle, but there is a perch that swings (dollar store, and a split key ring, couple more zip ties) Possibly some kind of climbing net I am thinking. Time for that later.
The real piece de resistance however is the "crossover" braided out of more towel strips. Lower center you can see where the top of the spiral ladder attaches to the top bar. The "Crossover" lets Cara easily go from the top bar back to his cage.
That is Cara's #1 spot to sit, preen himself and whistle.
At first the cage door was only open when I was in the room and watching. But gradually it is staying open more and more. The room is a cat free zone (yes we have 2, both orange tabbys, one short one long hair.) Neither has ever even killed a mouse, but the room is designed to keep cats out.
Cara hasn't started talking yet, but then he is still quite young. My wife and I threw names back and forth at each other for at least 4 days. Finally I googled "words for snow" LOL can't pronounce one of them. Finally late one night I had a thought, and googled "words for friend" and there partway down the list it was, short, with a nice hard K sound. In Italian means beloved, in Gailic means friend/companion. Thats it, boy, girl or it, Cara is what I'll call it.
Cara was clipped when I bought him, however he's managed to learn to fly (uphill) with a single flight feather on each side.
A flight harness is in his near future I think.
As for me, well my interests are wide and widely varied. I tend to spend lots of time on the computer, message boards, on and offline games, reading has been a lifelong passion. I am almost 60, married (16 years) to the most wonderful person in the world. The sign on my back door reads "A fisherman lives here with the best catch of his life". It echo's my sentiments perfectly.
Cara seems to enjoy music (haven't quite narrowed down preferences yet) Whistling competitions, which he almost always wins (he cheats) sitting on my shoulder watching me at the computer. If I put him in the cage he will fly to get back to my shoulder. In fact that is one of our favorite games. Encourage bird to step off hand onto whatever surface is lower than my shoulder and handy, then as I try to hurry to the far side of the room Cara is already taking off to get back to his favorite perch.
For all of you who didn't get a bird like Cara, hang in there. Trust takes time to build. Always keep movements slow, easy and controlled, and emotions the same. Calm, cool, collected. If you get rattled, walk away for 10 min.
After all, everyone wants to be loved, but love is dangerous. Leaves you vulnerable. No one likes to feel trapped, out of control. Remember that when your working with your bird.
Cara and I are both looking forward to getting to know all of you.