Charlie on my knee…

You’ve read a little bit about Charlie at Best Friends Animal Society. I’d read about Charlie before at the BF website and was completely smitten by this charming African Grey even before I met her. A sensitive little soul, she reminds me of a little girl I knew in grade school. Ann was afraid of her own shadow and never really spoke up much, if at all. Just recently, Parrot Garden (PG) manager Jacqueline Johnson wrote about Charlie at the PG Facebook page and referenced the article written about her at the BF website. It’s a nice story: How Charlie Got Her Feathers Back

Shari Mirojnik told me once that she felt that Greys would not suffer loudly. Rather, they would just privately and quietly languish away in a bad situation. I don’t know if that’s always the case, but I tend to agree with her. In Charlie’s case, I simply think Charlie wasn’t comfortable with where she was and once she found her “place,” she was able to bloom.

Charlie is a charming girl. She is very much like my Nyla. She watches everything and everyone. Occasionally, I think Nyla is the journalist in the house. She seems to view everything objectively. Whereas Parker wants to get involved and make his own feelings known, Nyla simply observes.


Nyla: A really cool customer…

Charlie lives in a room with a couple of desks and you get to King O’s enclosure overlooking the down stairs bird room from Charlie’s room. It doesn’t have a lot of through traffic, but it is visited and used frequently during the day. Here is a glimpse of their room:

Ruby, another Grey and a couple of other smaller birds live in that room as well so Charlie has plenty of company. It is a calm room and one of my favorite areas at the Parrot Garden when I need to download video or do write ups on my blog while I’m there. I had been at Best Friends for about a week and I was doing just that when I felt a tug on my pant leg. It was Charlie. She had climbed down from the top of her cage walked across the floor and came over to me. Stacy saw this happen and gasped.


“Patricia, she doesn’t do that!”

“Well, she’s doing it now. Should I pick her up?”

“Well, you can try.” (Gee thanks…)

So I did. I stepped her up and put her on my knee where she sat for about a half an hour while I wrote and edited video.  After that, she climbed down repeatedly and came to me over the next week, making it very clear she wanted to sit with me. She never attempted to bite me. She simply wanted to sit with me. And that was just fine in my book.



I’m a Grey person. I know what I like and I know what I’m good at. I get Greys. I am simply not a multi-species person. You know what I mean: “I have a Grey and a Cockatoo, and a Greenwing, and a Quaker, and a couple of cockatiels and…what else? Oh yeah! I have a budgie!”

Umm no. Not for me. Might be fine for other people. I remain Grey. If I were running an adoption organization, it might be a different story. But I don’t.

175902_4787472215446_1544797866_oBob’s Hyacinth, Maggie

Bob Sacha laughs at me. If I am talking on the phone and one of them gets ramped up, (Which is nothing compared to a cockatoo…) I get annoyed. To be fair, and to explain. I am sitting here at 10 a.m. to the sounds of complete silence other than the tapping of my laptop keys and the scratchy sounds of Pepper playing with her phone book at the bottom of her cage. That’s it. So my Greys tend to be quiet because they live in a quiet household. So when they get a little “vocally rambunctious,” it surprises me and I get annoyed. And it is nothing compared to what others deal with as far as the noise they have to endure. Bob thinks it’s hilarious that my birds are as quiet as they are and reminds me of that and how very lucky I am. And he’s right.

So Greys really do fit into my lifestyle and comfort level. I know what I can handle. So I really thought about Charlie. A lot. She was on my mind. Frequently. Icamethisclose to filling out an application to adopt her. But then, as I thought about it, about my lifestyle, my work, my dependency on my friends to help me with my birds when I am out at Expos or whatever, I reconsidered. I didn’t think it was fair to Bill and Nan to have to care for another Grey.



I’m pining for a dog too. But I’m not in a position to adopt one right now.

And there’s another thing. And this has nothing to do with what I thought or what I wanted or what I believed I could do to “help” Charlie. Charlie needs a stable lifestyle. Now I can provide that in a way. But am I the right family for Charlie? I’m not so sure. One Grey is a snap. Two isn’t that much harder. But three? That’s where it got tough. At least for me. And four I think would be folly for Charlie.

My three Greys are used to the little family my friends and I have created for them. They seem to thrive with three parents and don’t seem to get upset if I am gone for a while. It’s just more time with Bill and Nan, that’s all. But if Charlie is prone to plucking, how long would it take for her to adjust? And would it be fair to her or to my current family of Greys? I don’t know.

And if I’m not sure, then it’s best that Charlie get another family who is sure.


I know my limits. I know what I can handle. And the longer my three Greys stay with me and remain happy, that is three less Greys in the adoption system. That’s important. And if more people were able to manage the birds that they have, then there would be less strain on the adoption agencies.

Sometimes it’s not always about adopting more birds; It’s about keeping the birds you have in a happy and thriving environment.