Pet of the Day

November 1, 2006

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Pattie, the Pet of the Day
Name: Pattie
Age: Unknown
Gender: Male
Kind: Patagonian Conure
Home: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
   Pattie 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 me!

    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.

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