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.
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.
March 7, 2013 at 11:19 am
I see you wrapped it up quite nicely,, (as usual),,,
March 7, 2013 at 11:26 am
Your description of living with your greys is just like living with Ziggy, my grey. After spending a week around a couple of beautiful cockatoos, maybe snuggly but very loud, it reinforced my decision for a grey as well. I tend to be quiet. Loud noises are stressful for me. Ziggy fits that bill, and I don’t think she could match a cockatoo’s volume and tone if she tried. Which is not to say she doesn’t have her own irritating habits… but I find with her she prefers to speak rather than scream. So instead of screaming when she wants attention, she tells me “You don’t love Ziggy!” … lolol.. To each their own.. and I absolutely adored Molly and Ze’… but perfectly happy to leave the daily life to someone with less of a problem with noise..
March 7, 2013 at 11:30 am
I love your attitude in this. It is so positive. I love it!
March 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Thanks Crystal. I prefer it to the usual doom and gloom. Of course that’s always there, but I try and find some positive way of explaining things.
March 7, 2013 at 11:33 am
May I share this article in our bird club newsletter please? I was thinking of devoting our next newsletter to bird rescues and your comments at the end are perfect. Thank you!
March 7, 2013 at 11:52 am
Of course. Simply credit the author and the blog. 🙂
March 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Thank you so much and I will give credit accordingly!!
March 7, 2013 at 11:53 am
Perfectly written, as usual! And Charlie is good. Charlie is at home here, and her fully feathered status tells me that she is happy here with us.
March 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Jacque, I came sooo close to applying to adopt her. She is a wonderful Grey,
March 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm
This is a good article! It can be so hard to say no… I have a hard time doing it – my boyfriend and I have three parrots and a canary, and we know that’s the limit. Every time I see a bird needing a home, I remind myself of the ones we already have: We have just enough time between us to keep them happy and healthy. I love your blog!
March 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Better the ones with homes stay there. At least that’s how I see it. I would love it if I could take a “hands-off” bird. They are difficult to place. If there was one in every home, it might help the situation. Touching a bird shouldn’t be a condition to have one in your home. Some simply don’t care for it. They are content to be left alone. I have read yours too! It’s wonderful!
March 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm
I am the caretaker to four greys and six total (DYH and WB Caique). It is a lot of work. The most birds I had at one time was 23. 17 of them were cockatiels. I am happy to say that some of the tiels only knew one home and that they lived their entire life with me. My oldest was 25 when he passed. While I could not imagine that amount of birds fitting in my lifestyle now, I wouldn’t change the past. Many were rehomes, some were about to be let out a window. Each one very special and loved once in my home.
March 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm
I applaud you, Lisa! You know how to take care of your birds beautifully. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how you keep your home so spotlessly clean! It is absolutely immaculate. You always knew your limits and you were never overwhelmed. You stayed within what you could deal with. And not only that, you have your own business, you write, you speak and you raise funds. Amazing! It’s the learning every day and the staying on point that has made you so successful. And you never got over your head. now THAT”S what makes for a successful situation with a flock living under a person’s care. Bravo!
March 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm
Thanks. I’ve always said – If caring for a bird is anything else but a labor of love, then you shouldn’t own a bird. I guess that carries over to all aspects of my life that pertains to aviculture these days!
March 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm
Applause, applause, applause!!! I have nothing else to say……
March 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm
Very nice story and I can relate to it also at this time. It takes a lot of knowing what you are able to do, to Stop bringing birds into your flock. But I have never experienced a bird selecting me so do not know if I would have the ability to not bring another bird into my flock after they showed a great interest in being with me.
What happens next time you are out there and Charlie accepts the time you give her? Will you be able to walk away again?
March 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm
Nancy, I just don’t know. It was hard the first time. I’m sure it will be even more difficult the second time around. We’ll see how it goes,
March 9, 2013 at 11:56 am
I’m a grey person too. I have one of each TAG and a CAG. I would have found it hard to say no especially when it seems that she chose you.