I have learned so much in the short time i’ve been volunteering at the parrot sanctuary. Mostly that I have a healthy appreciation for those beaks. I have learned i’m slow to take on directions when there are 100 screaming squaking beaks around me. I have learned the value of bribery. I thought it was good for kids, but it’s multiplied tenfold with the birds. Hand a macaw a cracker and you instantly have a friend..for at least 45 seconds!
I have learned it’s much harder to keep track of all my appendages now that im bigger.
And fear is not an option.
That’s #1. My first bite was from the smallest feather brain in the whole joint. This same little turkey flew onto my shoulder today.
Talk about instant adrenaline! What do you do when the only bite received is from the very little Hahn’s Macaw that is now on your shoulder, inches from you ears, nose and eyes?!
You panic, thats what. Then you open the door and call for help. Unfortunately the lady helping me is liked very little by the bird, so i wandered around the room bent over until a perch more desireable than my shoulder is decided upon.
And then I laugh like a manic clown at the beak/bullet that I dodged. Laugh it off, try not to flinch, and never ever offer a bird your hand unless you are sure of the reception.
I was dive-bombed three times today by a naked blue & gold macaw. This little beastie likes the seed bin. (Duh) but sees it as a right, and not a priviledge. As I was filling/cleaning/changing bins she stalked me from perches and trees. Finally, my back was turned, she took flight, landed on my clipped up ‘bun’, grabbed with her talons/claws. I bent down, she pushed off and flew across the aviary only later to fly at me head on, face to face. I had to stand my ground and say, “Molly, no”. It kept her away, but only slightly.
This place is such a trip. I make bird friends but have to have zero expectation of loyalty. I cant assume it will be the same the next time i walk in. I have made one friend who seems to remain interested. He is a majestic Hyacinth Macaw. His name is Moseley and its hard not to love this big bird dinasaur:
This is him asking to ‘step up’. I learned last week not to commit without a backup to help convince him back to his perch.
That is the result of him trying to settle in and refusing to step off. I was flattered, but also a bit panicked.
I made this friend today. He’s a military macaw named Mr Higgins.
He let me scratch his back. This is the equivalent of a dog offering his tummy. It was amazing! I feel like i need to start finding new words to describe this whole experience.