Jenn and I went to look at Parrots today. Again. This is becoming obsessive now as my wife is beginning to get the parrot bug in a big way.
I've been a convert for a while. I wanted one so badly as a kid because they're cool and can talk, but it was only in recent years that I came to realise the extent of the parrot's intellect and personality.
I had a cockatiel for a short time before I came to America and that just completed the conversion. She constantly amazed me with her (relative to her small stature) intelligence and with the complexity of her behavior and reactions to mine towards her. (She was handed over to a friend of mine when I left the UK, with whom she had already bonded pretty well, but she unfortunately escaped through a carelessly opened door not long afterwards).
So I've wanted a parrot of some kind pretty badly since I came here, and Jenn has gone along with me since she's generally pretty well disposed to all animals. But later, at some point in the future.
Just recently that started to change though...
(I really should explain that when I say parrot I mean any member of the psittacine family, which includes all species of cockatoo, macaw, budgerigar, conure, caique, parakeet and of course, both African and Amazon parrots as well as some others and their various sub-species. Any one of them would do.)
Jenn's conversion started when we met an umbrella cockatoo called Caspar at a bird sanctuary near Austin, Texas back in August. I'd heard they were friendly but this puppy-with-feathers really took us aback. He was all over anyone who'd show him any interest; and it's often hard for the uninitiated to imagine that a beak of that size could do anything but serious harm, but once you've had your eyebrows preened thoroughly with one you have to appreciate the delicacy and skill of its user. He'd also coo "I love you!" but only to his owner, while reclining prostrate on its back in his arms. My wife's polite interest in these birds promptly became "We're going to have one. Or two."
So we've been hanging around pet stores since, looking for a breeder, good naturedly arguing about the pros and cons of macaws over cockatoos, the cost of upkeeping an African gray and what size of cage to get, all the while getting our fix of inane chatter and incandescent feathers. Right now we're decided on a macaw, Jenn likes the colours and seems to make friends with them easily, but next week it could just as well be a red loried Amazon or a leadbeater's cockatoo.
And today we finally found a breeder in OKC we're happy to get a weaned infant from; they seem to know close to everything on the subject as well so we'll very soon start paying for one of the most expensive eggs you can buy. And Jenn also met yet another macaw and was chatting away with it in seconds, as usual. I think they can see the widening of the eyes in childlike wonder or something; it was dancing about from side to side, chanting "hello, hello" and rousing its feathers in anticipation of a scratching.
I think, remembering the look in Jenn's eyes, the macaw's the final choice; and it'll definitely be coming into a really, really good home.