||St. Louis, Missouri, USA|
is a Patagonian Conure. He was rescued from an animal hoarder,
where he, along with 27 other birds, had spent most of their time in a
dark basement with little food, water or human contact. My only
previous exposure to Patagonian Conures was through pictures where they
had beautiful iridescent green and yellow feathering with a bright red
patch of feathers on the stomach. Pattie (his name at that time was
Popeye) had very dirty, bedraggled feathering, was extremely thin,
fearful of hands, would bite and screamed a lot. Despite all of these
problems, the first time I ever saw Pattie I knew he was the bird for
Pattie and his other feathered friends had to spend 1 1/2 months in the
shelter where I work while their case went through the court system.
During that time I would arrive early in the morning so that I could
spend time talking, reading and singing silly songs to him. I also did
a lot of research on Patagonians and discovered they come from Argentina
and Chili. They are the largest of the Conures and have the nickname
"cliff dwelling parrots" because they nest on high, rocky barren cliffs.
Several things happened to make me even more sure that this bird would
become my best buddy. As he gained strength and learned to trust
people, his true personality began to emerge. Instead of shy and
fearful, he became outgoing, and entertaining. Although protective
while in the cage, once outside, he would step up on my arm without
hesitation. I felt that he needed a new name to better describe him.
We chose Pattie because of his green coloring, his mischievous
Leprechaun-like personality and, of course because he was a Patagonian.
I adopted Pattie about a year ago. It has been a long journey and we
are still learning. I found a wonderful web site
to provide me with lots of useful advice about the many challenges of living with Pattie.
Pattie now lives in my office during the week, eats a healthy diet, his
feathers are beautiful, he is active, alert and seems very happy. He
provides entertainment to everyone who enters by ringing his bell,
attacking his toys and hanging from the top of his cage by his beak.
Pattie does not perform tricks, but his natural behavior makes it look
like he does. One favorite behavior is l "Break Dancing". Pattie
stands on top of his cage, bobs his body up and down, flaps his wings
and makes a clicking noise while I sing to him. We also hold "dueling
clicking" contests where I click to Pattie and he tries to imitate me.
We vary the number and rate of the clicks and it can be quite funny to
watch. A true Conure, Pattie can be very loud, especially if he is
seeking attention. People who visit our area of the building often tell
me it sounds like a jungle.
Living with a parrot can be hard work. There is a lot more involved
than just providing food, water and a clean cage. These are living
creatures that retain all of their wild characteristics; they bite,
scream and can be very messy. At the same time they can be
entertaining, funny and very loving. They are not for everyone. But
we have made it work for us.