Hi all! So, I have found myself in a birdie conundrum, and don't quite know what I should do. You all are the wisest bird people I know, and I'm hoping you can offer some guidance here. Please know, I am really looking for honest feedback. The worst thing in the world to me would be to have to rehome a bird, especially this bird. This will be a longer post- thanks in advance for reading.
Okay, here's the story: Next weekend, my 10 year old Alex and I are traveling to an English budgie show to hopefully pick out and bring home his new best feather friend. Yay about that! So no issues there. As we are prepping, we are purging things that Spiral used (when he passed away, we were still treating him for MRSA.) At this point we tossed his old cage, and are tossing perches, etc- basically only keeping things that were packaged or stainless steel so they can be sterilized. Our local pet store (not a chain) is owned by a kindred spirit bird lover. She cracks me up because she has about 10 birds in her store, which she won't sell. I love her for this- her macaws, cockatoo, African grey, and other larger birds are off limits until she gets to REALLY know people (I mean REALLY). She and Alex have a special bond, and if we go in at off times, she is willing to allow him to handle and snuggle her birds, and gives him lessons in bird care and handling. So we've been going in to stock up for new budgie, and also to get feather cuddles.
Recently, a family who had a 5 year old Pionus parrot became unable to care for the bird. The woman who was her sole caregiver has an autoimmune disease, and is trying to rehome this bird. It is obvious that they were very bonded- you can just feel the pain and confusion radiating off this poor baby. So the pet shop owner has taken her, and is trying to find her a forever home. My friend has taken us into the back several times to visit this bird and give her some much needed attention. Since she has been turned over to my friend, she screams. So, she's having to stay in the back room- the bustle of the shop is just too much for her, but she's lonely. As time goes on, she's getting better, but there are still some issues. Yesterday we visited, and my husband got to be with us. The bird has allowed Alex and I to scratch her and feed her, sat on Alex's shoulder, but she went crazy for Grant. She went right to him, displayed her pretty feathers, and was all but batting her eyelashes. Grant is what I would term a "bird tolerator" rather than a lover, but he was absolutely charmed by this Pionus, and was about a breath from taking her home to be "our" bird- mine and his. As we left the room, the screaming started, and we all stopped. This is a problem.
So, I have a tendency to have very severe migraine headaches. They are MUCH better now than in the past, but they can be triggered by lights and sound, or if I have one, sound would hurt. Now, I would be okay- earplugs are awesome. But after 16 years of marriage, Grant has become EXTREMELY protective of me. If you are ever in a dimly lit room using one of the super flash cameras, and you get a dirty look from a tall blonde man, that's him . So he is very apprehensive about bringing home a screaming bird.
So here's my dilemma. We can't get this bird off our minds. It's clear she has been emotionally traumatized. We are wondering: how much of the screaming is because she's in a scary busy store with not enough interaction? Might she stop in a quiet, loving home with three people who would spoil her, and after quarantine, a budgie to chirp with? It seems like a very big deal to take on a bird with emotional issues. Are there things we could do to minimize or retrain the screaming? A scream here and there isn't an issue- the car alarm thing is. I had thought about bringing her home for a week we are on vacation in June to see if we could work with her. If we can't would it just traumatize her more? She seems to scream the most when people leave the room... she doesn't want to be alone, poor baby. But obviously, we can't always be there (although with homeschooling we are definitely home a lot!) What about vacations - would boarding her re-traumatize her? My husband is most worried about this as well- we treasure being able to take our son on travels throughout the year- maybe even three weeks or so gone each year.
You guys, please be honest with me. What would you do in my place? We are a newbie bird family- only one budgie so far. I think we have a lot of love to give, and time to both research and spoil, but I am also very realistic- we are novices. This is a bigger bird with emotional needs. Our family home is quiet and calm, with lots of laughter and joy, but that may not be enough. My nightmare would be contributing to this precious girl's pain. I've also read extensively about Pionus parrots, but this is the only one I've ever met. Another option would be visiting her as often as we can until she finds that home- then we could love her without hurting her. I'm so torn. Help!
I'm sure you would be a very loving family for the parrot IF there wasn't the issue of screaming,
However, I would be more than reluctant to advise you taking on a bird with "issues" at this point in time since you are relatively new to owning birds.
Personally, I think you would be better off to concentrate on just the one English Budgie for Alex now.
One bird can absorb a great deal of time and attention.
If you work with the budgie on a regular and consistent basis, you should be able to form a strong bond with it that will satisfy the "need" for birds.
The parrot is obviously screaming for attention.
That is what parrots do.
And, when they get attention for screaming then it reinforces that behavior.
This is one thing many people don't realize.
I have three lovebirds and also suffer migraine headaches.
I can guarantee you that my birds don't care how I feel -- if they want to scream because I'm not right there for them, they will.
Earplugs may help but they aren't going to totally shut out the noise.
This is the voice of experience talking.
I believe the parrot would be better served by someone who doesn't have plans for travel on a regular basis and will be able to fill the needs of a bird that needs a great deal of attention and TLC.
Just wanted to say what a huge, difficult quandary to have to make a decision about. Many others here will be able to give good practical advice and thoughts. Wish I could too. My own thoughts are that you sound such a loving and caring family, wanting to do your best for that poor bird. That's a really good, kind thing to be, whatever your decision will be. The best of luck and prayers for your choice.
Greetings and welcome.I've read your thread here and along with faerybee response.I also agree with her on this.birds will scream and screech at times for attention.I too suffer from headaches often.I wish you well in whatever decision you make.blessings and sending comforting prayers for you.we're here if you need us.
princess Gracie Barber welcomes you all and blessings
In your position I personally wouldn't have this bird. It sounds as though his bird needs an experienced owner to deal with the screaming and behavioural problems. If you have a tranquil home, then as horrid as it sounds, this bird would just spoil all of that. Budgie chattering is one thing, a screaming pionus is another. Also, if this bird is already favouring your husband then your son may not be as involved as he wants to be with the care of this parrot. It'd be awful if you did bring her home then had to make the heartbreaking decision in re home her again because of the problems. I work at a zoo and we sometimes will take on ex-pets in certain circumstances but a lot of them come with their own issues which can take ages to deal with.
I admire you greatly for the love and affection you have shown this bird in your visits and would say it would be lovely to keep visiting it, and the others in your friends pet shop.
But I agree with Deb.
I don't suffer migraine's or headaches, but I can't tolerate a repetitive loud noise. A tiel is too much for me and while I love them and their affectionate personality, I know that the noise isn't something I want to have to deal with. The same with quakers and lovebirds- they're just too loud for me personally.
Now I share my space with eight budgies and I don't find their noise over bearing- not because they're angels and just chirp quietly all day, but because they just can't reach that ear-piercing level. They can get noisy and have their 'shouty' days but I can still tolerate it.
I think that deep down, you really know that you can't take this bird in. And she will be more confused if she were to be rehomed again because if your health was to suffer, you know that you would have to give her up.
I hope you don't feel bad for the decision. It takes a lot to know you are doing what's best for the bird and yourselves, and it's better to be cautious than rush in.
I suffer with migraines and have had my current headache for over a year non stop now.
I also take in rescues and a couple of years back i took in a patagonian conure who sounds very similiar to the little pionus.
His constant screaming and contact calls took months to even start calming down.
Even now he has screaming matches.
Taking him anywhere in a travel cage and i mean the garden the vets etc caused a major freak out and scream session which he still does now. He has been m9ved around so much he freaks everytime as he believes hes not coming back.
Taking him from one room to another would cause a freak out session if i left him in there to go and get something even if he was sat on someone else.
It has taken me years to get him to the stage he is now. He is still very much a damaged parrot. I would never board him as this would distress him far too much. I dont go on holidays as i know it would cause him abd my others too much upset.
Having a budgie is one thing but when you take on a larger parrot and especially one already 'damaged' you are comitting your whole life to them for the whole time you have them.
I dont take holidays, i get jobs that work around my birds. They are my life.
They are require a more complex diet than budgies.
Given your experience and what youve said of your life i do not recommend you take this little one on.
Personally i would avoid keep visiting him aswell. Long term you will only cause more issues for the little one. It is not fair to let him start to build a bond to then take that away.
Leave this guy for someone with the experience and ability to devote themselves completely to him and help him heal.
Thank you all SO much for these responses. These were what I needed to see. Therm, you really struck a chord- I think I do know deep down that the hardship this sweet, beautiful girl would come with likely outweighs the joy of having her, in our situation. Deb, thanks for the words of experience. Migraines are rotten, and Spirals sweet chattering was never an issue, but I think her screaming would be rough. ISOE, that was a big concern- Alex is only ten, and I agree- I'm not sure he has the patience or understanding of bird behavior to handle this. Thank you, Shane and Ann, for your kind words of confirmation and encouragement.
I agree with you all, and just needed that wisdom. I find myself increasingly frustrated (actually enraged) the more I learn about the plight of pet birds. This parrot had an owner who became sick, but so many others are treated SO horribly, and it breaks my heart. Many of the other birds at this store were rescued from awful situations, but they are so quick when they see us to clamor for cuddles and love. Their mercy for the human race honestly exceeds mine for their abusers. I wish I had the situation and experience to help them, especially this girl. You can feel that she is sad and confused.
Thank you guys so much. Anyone around here would just say "take her! She's so pretty!" I needed people who know to look past the feathers and see the responsibility of caring for a troubled, intelligent creature who deserves more than a cage and a cracker. Thank you for the honesty- I feel terrible for her, but could easily end up hurting her more, which would be devastating. I think we will make the commitment to visit her and bring her healthy treats, love and scritches. We can definitely do that!
We are so excited to find our budgie friend, and will focus on that. After the experience that was Spiral, budgie's seem like the perfect loving feather friends for us
Whoa! Thank you for the detailed information, Amelia- I just read your post. That sounds very much like what this girl is going through. I did not think about our visits being a place of upset for her. I don't want to cause her any distress. perhaps we should limit our involvement to prayers for her forever family. What you described is exactly my concern- terror over being left alone in a room, fear of transport. Poor girl. Thank you again, and thank you for your devotion to birds. They deserve SO much more than they get, and I never want to contribute to the suffering of one of these guys.