Tuesday, September 06, 2005

As The Bird Turns

My female African Grey parrot has lost her little feathered mind, I believe. Mona used to be Ali's mate and lived happily with him for about 5 years. Then one day she sneaked out of their cage in the aviary at the house in Maadi (I still don't know how) and she moved in with Fritz You Bastard. Fritz YB had been given to me because he'd plucked every feather out of his body and was walking around his cage in utter nakedness driving his poor owner to distraction. We popped him into the aviary in the cage next to Mona and Ali, ignored him other than to give him my parrot bread and fruit and veggie mix daily and all his feathers grew back in. He's quite the handsome parrot now but his personality hasn't improved even a tiny bit. Fritz YB and Mona have been living together now for about 2 or 3 years and although I wondered sometimes what Ali thought of all this, he's never said a word.

The other day as I was cleaning food bowls and distributing breakfast for the birds, Mona climbed out of her cage and headed for Ali's cage that he's been sharing with a nice little Cuban Amazon called Alba. Huh? What's this? Maybe she's having second thoughts? Her greeting to Ali was received with rather less than a "Welcome back, darling" however and she wasn't all that sweet in her interactions with Ali, so I encouraged her to go back to Fritz YB if she wasn't going to play nice. Ali seemed happy enough with that solution and I didn't think much more about it. Then today in the morning she did it again, moving in on Ali's cage, while Ali fled her presence. She seemed to be mostly interested in the nest box which is in pretty good shape in Ali's cage, while hers is rather chewed up. This time I decided to leave her with Ali to see if they could sort things out. When I came back from riding this morning, however, Ali was looking a bit frazzled and Mona was looking rather predatory. The words "rape, pillage, and burn" came to mind although they are not the usual sort of things that I would consider with regards to my parrots. Again I encouraged her to go back to Fritz YB who did give her a "Welcome home, darling" clinch with the beaks, so I have to imagine that her forays into Alidom are more for the nest box perhaps than poor Ali.

Tomorrow I'll move the nest box from Ali's cage to Mona's and see if they are happy with this solution. No one ever told me that parrots could be so bloody complicated.


Gia-Gina said...

Looks like you have some SPAM going on. I used to work at a pet store and miss parrots terribly. I would only keep one in an outdoor aviary like you have, houses, wood and most types of furniture do not go well with parrots. I had a tiny little quaker parrot but after he/she bloomed and got the urge, I had to give her to a breeder.

fatima said...

I happened across your blog yesterday and..well - thank you! I have an african grey myself and am very worried about her - losing her feathers losing weight, i believe she may have mites of some sort..and i'm very reluctant to spray her with anything. any advice? Do you know of a trusty avian vet in cairo ?

Maryanne said...

I wish I did know of a decent avian vet in Cairo. I invested rather a lot of money years ago in some good avian medicine manuals as I have to do most of my own work. If she's losing weight and plucking, you may have a fungal infection going on. Email me at my home address msgabbani@mac.com

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for the laugh, that was really funny about your african greys. Do yours talk?