Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh No, Hormones!

Yes folks, we are nearing that time of year again, a time when life as we know it is turned on its end and we feel our sanity seeping away, as eggs, frustration, and unbelievable volume mesh into one chaotic color wheel. Or that is what I was thinking this morning in bed, as Linus started his day-long deluge just moments before the sun came up. I am not talking a bit of happy-to-see-the-day singing, no, that is usual, and consists of a few loud calls, some beeps and tweets, and lots of (very pleasant) whistling. Who could complain about that? No, this is different- just one loud, high pitched call that will continue intermittently (but seemingly non-stop) throughout the day. This, my friends, is Spring.

Please, though, do not get the wrong idea- Linus is perhaps the best prepared, but he is certainly not the only one getting ready for the 20th. Frank and Lola are louder, more exuberant, seemingly bursting with joy, even if their expression of said joy doesn't always give me the same warm fuzzy feeling inside. Yo-yo and Miss Patty are clearly thinking nest-wise, although no sign of serious egg production quite yet. It was only about a month ago Miss Patty laid an egg (just one, she doesn't often lay more now as they tire her so) so I am hoping they will see the food abundance and decide to be fashionably late. I will take any time I can get before more egg stress! After the calling comes the aggression. Yo-yo is already started to get riled up with Linus, and, a true first, I noticed him picking on Miss Patty yesterday in a most un-pleasant manner. As of yet, they are still mostly friends, but the beginnings of another serious family feud are clearly underfoot. I can hardly wait.

Still, there is always the positive in a flock as large as mine- Claudia and Chester get hormonal in the fall instead of the Spring, as they are driven more by their inner calendar to give them the time of year to breed (fall is spring in Indonesia) rather than the changing of the season here, as is common with ekkies more so than many other species. And while that does mean I get hormone surges twice a year instead of once, I find it easier to deal with the hormones of part of my flock if the other part is still same-old same-old. Plus, Chester and Claudia are, in parrot terms, fairly mild hormones-wise. Chester is louder, Claudia starts digging on her cage floor considering the feasibility of laying a clutch, and both want more food and a bit more time alone in their cage destroying every toy in sight. Oddly enough, they also get along a lot less, so play-dates are shorter. That is really about it, though, so I don't know how I got so incredibly lucky!

For those of you that have been keeping tally, you might have noticed I have yet to mention one parrot: little Ava, the queen bee. Her "Spring Fling" is marked by a lot of napping. She is right in the middle of hormone heaven, where everything is a constant contest and every move is watched for hidden meaning. She really doesn't get into all this stress, and even if the very early morning until late at night scream fest didn't disrupt her beauty sleep, there really is only way one to get through it- sleep!


Susanne Cochran said...

I love your descriptions of hormonal behavior changes! Mine are much louder and more rambunctious too. I have noticed that birds who were friends, even housed together, sometimes have to be separated for the duration. And in other cases, such as my brown headed parrot breeding pair, they have to be separated when they aren't hormonal. Interesting how different species and different individuals react differently to those inevitable hormonal surges.

Meg said...


I know exactly what you mean about separating during hormones. I often have to do the same here. For instance, poor Lola wants to raise a family sooooo bad, but Frank just can't figure that one out! I separate them to help get her mind off it, since she gets so very upset.

It is interesting your Brown Headed Pair can't be together except during hormones. Do they pair differently in the wild, or is it just a quirk?

Mary said...

Just posted today as we are going through something similar at our house; usually it's earlier for him.

If only everyone followed Avs's lead in dealing with their hormones!