Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Shade the Senegal
"Inquisitive, trusting and loving"
My first Poicephalus.
Shade is two years old and she is the youngest of my birds, although my second parrot.
Back in 2006 I was researching a lot about different species of parrots. I wanted something relatively independent, capable of spending lengthier periods of time in it's cage, relative quiet so that I could have it in an apartment, not too big yet not too small (aka something bigger than my lovebird but not as big as an African Grey). I didn't need anything with flashy colours (I actually find that those that have less "wow" factor on a picture are actually quite nice when seen up close for real; sometimes they have a subdued beauty that isn't quite captured by cameras), talking was not a requirement (nor should it EVER be one, even within species of parrots that are known for their talking ability there are some individuals that will never talk). Then I found the Poicephalus family. They fitted my set of criteria perfectly. My parents were aware (well my mom was) of the fact that I was looking into getting one of these little African birds when I graduated from University later that year. I didn't make any decision about which Poi (Senegal, Red-bellied, Meyer's or Brown head) I wanted; quite frankly, I figured when I was ready to get one, I would probably take which ever was available at the time if, of course, I bonded with a baby. Well the end of April was coming along and so was the end of school and my parents decided to surprise me with a gift..my next parrot. Now my mother had found babies for sale in Montreal, unweaned. I would never suggest people take on unweaned babies and finish the process of weaning them themselves. However, it just so happens that my mother's friend from whom I got Piper was willing to finish weaning my baby Senegal, choose we get it. So on the 30th of April of 2006, my dad and I went to Montreal to see the Sennies. Now, my parents had already dealt with the guy selling the babies before. When we got there, he showed me around his house. He had a couple of birds, kept in ok condition (not ideal, but not terrible, everything was fairly clean and the birds had clean water and fresh food and pellets). Then I got to see the babies. There were two of them left. Turns out the babies were not from any of his breeder pairs, a friend of his had given them to him. But both remaining babies had issues with their legs, seemingly splayed. One looked pretty severe (both legs). Of course, when I saw those one month old balls of fluff, my heat melted. Ideally, I should of turned away and said no...but I'm a sucker and couldn't fathom leaving without at least one and I was really eying the one with just the one bad leg (since that baby had tried to get close to me). I think the guy knew it and it might have been what prompted him to offer to give me the one with both splayed legs for free if I took the other one. Well my dad didn't feel like leaving them behind, my mother, whom we called, said to bring them home. So we did. I only wanted the one parrot at the time so my parents were going to keep the other. I named mine Shade and theirs was named Nemo. They both went to the vet during the following week and it turns out Shade had a broken leg that was healing improperly set and Nemo had dislocated legs and one of them had an infection. At this point, I can't say anything but positive things about our vet. She fixed Shade's let (the "cast" she had afterward was awfully cute) and treated Nemo the best she could and he can now perch properly, even though one of his legs won't ever be entirely functional.
They spent most of the summer at Piper's breeder's house. Then in August I finally brought Shade home to stay. Early on, I brought her to the local Parrot Club meetings to socialize her, get her used to other people, to traveling in a car and seeing different places. Senegals do have a reputation of being one person bird and I'm happy to say that Shade does not fit that description. I am her favorite person, yet she will go see other people without any trouble. She does not attack, does not bite. My boyfriend has even won her over (she wasn't a fan of him at first, but would just run away when he tried to make her go on his hand). She is quite capable of independent play but will gladly take the one on one time when I offer it to her. She LOVES food. She'll eat just about anything (with a preference for carrots lately). She trusts me like none of my other birds do (although Piper is a close second).
Senegals can make wonderful pets in you put in the time to socialize them well early on and keep handling them daily.
Shade and I