Leo, A rescue story

by Mary
(Texas)

Leo was "rescued" by a well meaning lady who knew next to nothing about parrots. Her intentions were good, and I might add very much needed.

She had read in a local paper about a parrot for sale in a near by area and as she had been thinking that she might like to have a parrot but as to how she could not afford the high prices in pet stores, she decided to go have a look.

She got to the house and was shown to a dark and messy back covered patio, where she first saw little Leo. He was being kept in a small 12x14x14 wire cage with one yellow #2 school pencil stuck thru the wire for a perch. There were two jar lids on the floor of the cage. One was full of old bird seed hulls and not much else and the other was supposed to be for water, but I won't bother to say what it was full of. Nasty. Very, very nasty.

She bought Leo for twenty dollars, cage included, and took him home. Next day she went to the local pet supply store and purchased the biggest most expensive parrot cage they had in stock. She also bought a book about parrot care, (I don't think she read it) and several bags of seeds, pellets and fruit and vegetables. Sounds great for Leo doesn't it?

Poor little Leo was lost in that big old cage, and could not eat half of the stuff she had bought, being that she had gotten the large bird size pellets and had no idea which fruits and vegetables he should have. He promptly started losing feathers and looking very sad indeed.

During a break at the local Bingo hall, I happened to hear her talking about this poor bird. She had no idea what to do with him and was thinking of giving him away because he was so loud and mean (he bites!) and was so very messy and wasn't very pretty any more since he'd lost his feathers. I asked if I could have a look and she said yes. I probably had no more knowledge than she did, but I took Leo home and read the book.

Next day he went to the vet. Surprisingly, he was pretty healthy, except for three toes missing (one from one foot and the other two from the other foot.) Vet said that it looked as if they had been biten or cut off at the first knuckle joint above the claw.

And as such, he had a hard time holding on to perches (or shoulders) the vet said that he was approx. two-three years old. He soon grew new beautiful feathers and even started trying to talk! He just needed the right food and a calm and clean place to grow comfortable in and someone to care.

He's been with me for over two years now and I will admit that because I know what he had been put thru, I might have over indulged him...a little.

Now,...My problem. He's bonded with me. And no one, I mean NO ONE, can come near him, or me if he's out of his cage. Not even my son or my grandchildren. He will scream and divebomb anyone who gets close. He bites and draws blood and pulls hair.

I understand this. But it makes it hard to deal and live with. I hate having to put him away in another room when company comes to visit. But for everyones sake, it's for the best. Does anyone have any ideas how to help him overcome being so scared and defensive? Help, please!

Comments for Leo, A rescue story

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Aug 18, 2009
Leo update please
by: Anonymous

Could we have an update on Leo? How is the dear sweet boy?

Aug 18, 2009
LEO
by: Anonymous

I have had a Meyer since she was weaned 6 years ago, Lily, and she is the sweetest and smartest and quietest. When something makes her mad she will just start going on and on in her own little language. Her favorite thing is head scratches, she would love if I did that all day. Her toys that she likes best are small hanging wooden toys and the little rubber ones that hang with rope on them. I put a small empty kleenex box in her cage and she loves to chew on it and play inside. She is very particular when she goes to bed that just the area where she is perched is covered with a handtowel. My Quaker is not a lover and my DYH Amazon is only right before bedtime so it is nice having one that loves to be loved. I live alone so she is also really a one person bird but everytime anyone comes over they just speak to her and offer her a treat and I think one day she will come around.

Jun 25, 2009
Leo
by: Anonymous

I hope Leo is doing well. Keep trying and thanks a million for giving him a chance at a normal, safe , happy life.

Jun 25, 2009
Leo, A story in progress
by: MARY

I want to say thank you to everyone for all your kind words and wonderful suggestions. I went today and got a much small bird cage to keep in the livingroom so that Leo can have a safe haven while company is in the house.

I really hadn't thought about how putting him in the other room was probably adding to the problem instead of helping. So thanks for that input Linda.

Also, I had a talk with the grandkids about Leo, and about respecting his space. I let them know that I needed and wanted them to help by learning about parrot handling before they could help out with Leo. Ya'll I have to admit, that I have a lot of learning to do also.

You know that it was my 12 year old grandsons idea for me to look on the Internet about Leo. So I'm going to thank him too.

By the way, I let him read the story I wrote about Leo and the first responses I got from ya'll and he was very impressed and eager to help. So maybe we're on the right road.

Keep your fingers crossed. And I'll continue to let you know how we're doing! Oh!! Almost forgot. At the moment I have no way to post pictures...but I'm working on that also.

Bye for now ya'll and again, Thanks

Jun 24, 2009
Meyers Parrots
by: Linda

Mary, thanks for letting us know who Leo is! I have handfed and raised baby Meyers parrots, and they are some of the sweetest parrots on the planet. Can be a little nippy at times but they all can. He is amazing that he has survived as long as he has under the circumstances he's had to live with.

You are doing excellent work with him, and once he is more comfortable with other people, and you have done some training with him, he should make a fine pet. Right now, he is afraid of more than one person, and, of course, children and confusion go hand in hand, so that does not need much explanation. I still stand by keeping him in his cage when visitors come over. He will feel safe, and if they keep their hands out of his cage, they will be safe too!

Leo may always be a little nippy, and needs to be handled by experienced bird people only. All people can be taught how to handle birds, and that, Dear Lady, will be your job (aren't you happy you are SO needed?). Children need to be 9 or 10 before they start handling the larger birds. Keep us posted as we have inquiring minds and need to know all about Leo. Your experiences will help others as well. There are more parrots that need to be rescued than you would ever believe. The market is flooded and now just about anyone can own a bird whether they should or not. Birds are sentient beings and have the intelligence and emotional development of a 4-5 year old child. They are also wild animals first, last and always. It takes hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of years to domesticate an animal or bird. Always keep it in mind with Leo. You are very blessed to have him, and always, no matter what, remember that.

Love,
Linda, Eli and Stella

Jun 24, 2009
Leo
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your reply. I have a quaker who is the same way. She is terror on wings. She is not clipped, and she has to be put away or she tries to draw blood on my hubby. My other quaker was quite aggressive, but I had her clipped for safty as she is not a good flier and was an accident waiting to happen. Noone can pet her but me, but she did calm down a little and tolerates people close by, just not touching her. You could always try clipping the wings. He wouldn't be able to divebomb people. And he could be out, just not touchable. Maybe once he got socialized this way, his behaviors would improve. Jades did for me. Just a thought.

Jun 23, 2009
leo
by: Anonymous

such a sad story, with a beautiful ending, GOD BLESS YOU FOR TAKING LEO IN. he will over come, the jealousy. introduce him to everyone who comes in and have them talk to him.

Jun 23, 2009
Leo
by: Linda

Without knowing what kind of parrot Leo is, I will say that it sounds like he was abused and neglected. You saw how the lady kept him, and what you don't know is the torture he may have endured from his previous owner(s).

Tracie has some training information out here, and I think you will be able to speak with a trainer about his behaviors. The road ahead will be a long one, and our hearts go out to you for taking in this abandoned bird. He has bonded with you and is very jealous of your attention to anyone else. Putting him away in another room is not the answer though he does need his own space for bedtime and quiet time. Our Amazons have their own room so they can get enough rest (needs approx. 12 hours dark and up to 12 of light). You need to buy or make a cage cover so that he gets enough rest at night. We put ours to bed at around 9pm, and they are then uncovered at around 8am each morning. Cage cover is made of polyester so it washes and dries well and quickly. In the winter, we put the front piece down for warmth, and in summer, we cover all but the front for a little extra air. We keep the ac vent in their room closed as being near these vents can cause a draft which can cause pneumonia.

Take advantage of some of the training materials and people you will find out here and when company is coming over, put him in his cage where he can see all and see how that works.Cover him if necessary until he is a quiet boy. Until he is better with other people, he does not need to be out of his cage when others are present for their and his safety.He is "acting out", and so work with him using some of the training techniques you find here. Don't be afraid to ask all the questions of a trainer that you need to. The more they know about you, your bird and your home environment, the better they will be able to help you.

Please do not lock him away somewhere as that is what has happened to him all his miserable life. Someone either cut his toes off or let a dog or cat do it. If the cuts were precise, a person did the sadistic work. This bird has and does live in Hell except for you, so he will fight to keep you no matter what. The object is to keep him around so he can see how you interact with others and that no one is going to hurt him. Keep all children and even adults AWAY from his cage. Parrots are mistrusful of children if they have not always been around them. Protect him. Tell people to stay away from him as he is afraid and has been tortured. Teach them to respect his space. He may one day be a loving pet, and until then, it is your job to protect him, nurture him and love him.I truely believe he can be helped, and you are the one who has been appointed for the job.Your work and patience will be rewarded 10 times over.

Let us know what kind of parrot he is when you can and attach a picture of your dear Leo.

Linda

Jun 23, 2009
Leo, A Rescue Story
by: MARY

Sorry ya'll. I forgot to tell you that little Leo is a Meyers parrot. I never knew much about them but he's a smart little guy, ven if he does have a mean side. He doesn't seem to care about toys or mirrors much. But he does like music. Ha ha, just turn the Beatles and Queen cd's on and he starts doing a little swaying bobbing kind of dance. Oh! And he just loves to cuddle and hide under the covers and in any small, dark "cave" like areas. I'm not much of a writer, so please forgive me. Hope to hear from ya'll soon with some good ideas for him.

Jun 23, 2009
Ques about Leo...
by: Anonymous

What kind of parrot is Leo. You never said.

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