Some of you might already know that our family does not only consist of hubby and a teenage son, but also a spoilt parrot who likes tummy rubs and Finnish gingerbread.
I have had pet birds for 30 years and have had Zebra finches (Oscar, Olga and Orville), a peach faced Lovebird (Sascha) followed by Fred, an African Grey. We tragically lost Fred some years ago and were so upset we lived a few years without a pet bird. That is, until four years ago when we were joined by Tommy, our green cheeked Conure!
He is the most cuddly and silly tame little parrot we have come across, and loves nothing more than having his neck scratched, tummy rubbed or to lie on his back in the palm of your hand! He has learned to speak a little (something that surprised us) and although his speech is not as good and clear as Fred’s was, he certainly keeps us entertained! “Naughty!” “No biting” “Who’s that?” “Tommy is a good boy” and “What’s that?” are some of his most common phrases. The funniest thing is that he seems to be able to ask the questions at the right time as one morning, when he was sitting in his cage in our bay window and hubby had quietly snuck out with the rubbish bags. “Who’s that?” shouted the parrot spotting hubby in the morning dawn. Who needs a watchdog when you have a parrot, eh?
Caring for a Conure is quite easy, all you have to remember is to give him quality food, i.e. pellets supplemented by fresh fruit and vegetables at least once a day, lots of time outside his cage to stretch his wings and socialise, and ensure he gets enough vitamin D. In the summer I occasionally take Tommy’s cage out in the garden which he really enjoys. But please do remember if you do this to check the cage is locked, use a towel to cover parts of the cage, ensuring there is shade to escape to, and if it is very hot take a spray bottle with tepid water, so that you can spray your parrot every now and then.
As the British summers are unpredictable and the supply of vitamin D cannot be guaranteed, we have also invested in a special vitamin D light. This light has a special light bulb and comes on every evening for an hour or so, before Tommy is allowed out of his cage. It is not the most beautiful light and shines up our living room, but knowing this is for the welfare of our parrot, we have accepted this.
So, the evening routine is an hour under the light, followed by 3-4 hours of “free” time outside his cage. Now, unfortunately Conures can be a bit mischievous, which means that Tommy will fly onto picture frames and mirrors in our living room and start biting the frames with his strong beak. Having realised that our commands of “Naughty” or “No biting” don’t seem to work, we now shout “Up” and point to the picture rail where he is allowed to perch on.
The only problem is, that this is all going on in our front room, with a big bay window to the street. And from outside our house, you cannot see the parrot sitting on the mirror frame, but only hubby raising his right arm several times and shouting, looking like he is doing a Nazi salute! But even worse, walking home late one evening, we found that son had pulled the curtains and had the vitamin D light on, making our house look like a cannabis factory from the outside! I have to say, I’m astonished we haven’t been reported to the police by our neighbours yet!
I absolutely dread to imagine what they think is going on in their strange Finnish neighbour’s house!!!!