My Red Bellied -- Love at first sight, for me anyway...
Sam on her back
Growing up, I lived with a Congo Gray parrot (Billy), who tolerated me only when I had food - Apples in particular. In short, this was my father's bird who put up with me, but absolutely LOVED my dad. Due to my dad's work schedule, he gave Billy to a good friend of his who didn't live far from us, so my dad still visited Billy every now and then. In 2008, I loss my dad to a heart attack, and Billy's owner came to the funeral talking about how well he was doing, at the ripe ole' age of 25.
Loosing my dad broke my heart, but his love for birds permeated in me. After talking with my husband, a decision was made that we would get a bird. Although, it couldn't be just any bird, it had to be an African species, like the Gray, Billy. I wanted something similar to Billy, only in a smaller package -- then I selected, the Red Bellied Parrot, in the Poicephalus species. The nice thing about this species is that it can entertain itself for hours – and they talk too. Now the hard part - were do we begin? We were not sure where we would get our new parrot from, so I called several breeders.
In May of 2009, one of the first breeders we contacted said they had one red belly parrot, a girl. Somehow, not sure how, I was able to convince my husband to ride with me to look at her and we made plans to visit the shop one Saturday morning in June.
On June 6, 2009, we went to see the red bellied parrot. As we walked into the shop the first thing I noticed was the half price sign on her cage. “Wow, you can’t get any luckier than this, what a steal!” I said to myself. Then we found out why. The breeder said that her mate was sold about 5 months prior, and she was left in her cage all alone. She was not being handled like a hand tamed bird should be -- and if you want to maintain their tameness that is a requirement. Needless to say, everyone who took an interest in her, she tried to bite their fingers off – leaving bloody holes in a lot of fingers, ugh. Hearing this, I said I don’t know, then I said why not, and I couldn’t help but think about the deal I was getting. My husband said, “Are you NUTS, she is a killer!” And I said no, “She is a bird.” So I purchased her, and I named her Sam, short for Samantha.
scheduled to leave town the next day, returning the following week, so the breeder said to leave here there and we can pick her up when we return.
Returning home that afternoon, I signed on to the computer and ordered her cage, toys, and the whole nine yards. And everything arrived before we left town, so I was able to put her cage together and have everything ready for when we returned from our trip.
When we arrived home with Sam my Husband and I stayed downstairs so that we could witness Nigel’s (Our English Bulldog) reaction to his new sister. It was a riot, he barked, out of shear fear when he saw her. It was a, "WHAT IS THAT!" reaction... He was hysterical! Then we walked upstairs to calm him down. I said Sam meet Nigel, and vice versa. Neither one of them wanted to have anything to do with the other; Sam, however, didn’t want anything to do with any of us. Oh well.
Now the fun part, for the first week Sam was left alone to get acclimated to her new environment. By week two, I started to carry her around the house in a towel, and talking to her. Within a month I was able to carry her around without a towel, what progress. She was leery of me, so I still had to be careful.
By late summer, Sam was about 8 months of age, and by then I could give her kisses and cuddle her. Now she stays out of her cage when we are home. Did I mention that she loves to eat, so food bribery works -- She will do anything for food.
One day I was sitting in the chair next to her cage, and I heard, “Whatcha doin?” I looked up at her and said no way. I called my husband, and he came running, we just stared at each other. The following week, my husband was sitting in the same chair, and again, Sam said, “Whatcha Doin?” loud and clear, he was shocked.
Today, Sam has fully adjusted to her home, and allows me to hold her, will walk on the floor and Nigel just ignores her. In addition, she will lay on her back in my hand, with her feet straight up in the air. Her ability to talk has progressed as well, her favorite line is, Whatcha doin, Good Girl. Peek-a-boo; but she can also say Nigel, stop it, hummm, and some other words that we haven’t been able to make out just yet.
In closing, our red bellied parrot turned out to be a true diamond in the rough, and I love her dearly.