Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh my, Miss Clementine!

This post is about two months overdue, but I wanted to wait and see how things settled before posting. I was admittedly apprehensive, as I always am with a new bird, although it has been a while since my last. Really, I do not have hankerings for another bird even when I had far fewer- I wanted the budgies, I wanted a cockatiel after that, and I wanted an ekkie, though I had to wait years for that one. I am really not sure how the rest came to be permanents (ok, I admit I did want a friend for each), I think there must be a secret cue somewhere. The idea of bringing home another bird was not something I was going to do, I like my current mix, why change it? However, things just seemed to lead in this direction, and after taking the plunge, I can say it was actually one of the smoothest additions, and definitely the right choice! So without further ado, I would like to introduce Clementine, the newest member of this unorthodox clan.

Clementine is an African Grey. I would say  Congo African Grey, but quite frankly, after meeting her, I have to give some credence to the rumors of a third population of greys (whether a total subspecies or just distinct group) since she looks so very different from any other African Grey. For one thing, she is smaller than some Timneh greys, for another, her grey coloring seems different, plus her general head and beak is not the same shape as those I have seen, at least. Lastly, her tail is quite short, and her wing feather tips are almost an inch longer. Moving on to her other so-called vital statistics, she is around 65 years old, wild caught obviously, and has lived in 3 other homes besides mine, each for roughly the same amount of time. She is decidedly a she, since she laid 4 eggs in her last home (so over a period of 20 years) with her last egg being just a couple of years ago. She also loves tomatoes and does not approve of the red feathers that started coming in on her legs in the last few years. Tomatoes she eats and/or wears on her head as a not very effective bomb raid helmet, her red leg feathers she pulls. Overall she seems quite healthy, and is out of quarantine.

Clementine is very tame and friendly, and loves head scritches. I am trying to be very careful to limit any petting, even head scritches, since she has well-proven her preference for selecting one person and bonding to them heavily as mate, and thereby defending them from all others. Granted, living alone this may not seems a huge issue, but in general parrots, like people, are happier living in reality, and I just do not see myself making a very good grey husband, so I think boundaries are necessary to set.

Interestingly, as I was not sure if Clementine would not prefer to be kept in her own room away form the other parrots, she has really settled in, at least with the ekkies. In fact, she and Chester are quite close, they took an almost immediate liking to each other, after the first day when Chester gave me my first bite. Although I have never let them near each other out of their cages, they do carry on quite a bit. She starts to say or whistle or sing something, he finishes, and vice versa. Claudia, of course, likes everyone and had no problem with Clementine.

Clementine certainly does love her toys, I have to refill her foot toy bucket daily for all the chipping. She is very active, always up to something, and although her feet are not what I am sure they were in her younger days, she is quite acrobatic. She has probably an average (among pet parrots) affinity for fresh foods, although she did learn to accept my mash, and eats some fresh foods in the larger chopped pieces I give the ekkies. On the other hand, their are some fresh foods she eats that the ekkies will not, like figs (what is up with that? My ekkies also refuse papaya, and yet they really are good eaters otherwise), so that is nice.

Biggest difference with her age? She knows her stuff, and she does her own thing. She is quite confident, but that could easily be personality. But you just get the feeling around her that she knows people, easy-peasy. She has got it covered. If afraid, she does not panic, but takes it in stride and assesses the situation. Overall, though, she is just a fun bird that has had longer to learn to put her challenges and issues behind her.

Oh, she loves head scritches! It is hard to get action photos, 
since if I come over, she wants to dance, or sing, or scitches, hands on, etc-
not forage or play!

Chatty chatty, Miss Personality!

Window thoughts, she does love going outside-
I am working on harness training her, quite easy, actually.

Here you can see her wingtips- 
her wings are not held relaxed back in this photo.

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