Life continues along, and the final update on Tlalli’s past.

It’s February in Ontario, which means a huge portion of our day to day life involves discussing snow, discussing how cold it is, moving snow from one place to another, and sitting in the car cursing other people who can’t drive in snow.

But thankfully, we have some nice, entertaining tropical distractions from that to photograph and think of rain forests and warmth.

The newest member of the household has been here over a month now. Tlalli has a stainless steel band on one leg, with an identifying name and number on it. Thanks to the great people at the LegBandNumbers yahoo group, I found some information on her breeder, and gave him a call a few days ago.

She’s a little older than I was told, around seven years old, and was the one of the first clutch of greenwings that he bred, though her parents were breeding for someone else previously. At the time, he sold all of his parrots to one of the medium-size chain pet stores in Canada, which fits with what her previous owner told me.

That’s the end of Tlalli’s past, and now we’re onto her future, which she hopes involve vast numbers of baths, lots of crackers, and people to do her bidding.

Speaking of baths, she really, really likes baths.

As you can see.

We’re lucky to have a large house, with multiple bathrooms. Our guest bathroom is also our ‘parrot bathing room’, and includes a rain shower head and a nylon rope wrapped shower rod as a perch. It works really well for the macaws.

The only downside is that when Tlalli bathes, she flaps like crazy, so you have to constantly duck and hide from the streams of water, and the entire bathroom gets wet.

It’s worth it though.

She gets insanely, monumentally wet.

And so does everyone else.

On Saturday, we let her and Theo have physical access to each other, which was more or less completely without any real drama.

Since then, they’ve both spent most of their time out on the trio of stands upstairs, and sometimes, that’s closer than others. Yesterday, Tlalli wandered over to get a drink from the big bottle brush stand, and I snapped a few pictures of the interaction.

It wasn’t very dramatic.

They’ve both got awesome tails though!

All the drama has been occasional brief beak wrestling, which means we’re on a fast track to letting them share the same cage, which is really really good. As a precursor to that, Tlalli’s gotten to move into the big cage, and Theo’s staying in the smaller one. She thinks it’s pretty awesome, but you’ll have to wait for pictures of that.

Meanwhile, Snowmageddon part 894032890432890 is predicted for tomorrow. Whee.

Posted in Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli | 2 Comments

A big day!

Every time I bring home a new parrot, I keep him or her separated from the rest of the house until we’ve gone to the vet. While we’re at the vet, I do wellness bloodwork and a fecal to get an idea of their general health, and tests for the known Avian viral diseases.

Once that’s done and the results are back, and assuming they don’t have any variety of illness, the new bird can meet the old birds.

Tlalli’s tests came back yesterday and she’s in fine health, so last night, she got to meet some of the other members of the flock.

When I came home from work, madam Crazyzon was enjoying the separate stand. Kyklos is a nearly ten year old female double yellow head Amazon.

When I walked in the door, I exclaimed ‘Wow, Ky got small!’

She wasn’t particularly concerned about the giant red parrot, nor particularly interested. Giant red parrots are boring to Amazons.

Grey birds refrained from being willing to come out, so he did not get photographed yet, and the small parrots will never meet her simply because they tend towards suicidal bravery and a conure taking on a macaw is not going to work out well for the conure.

Do you know who WAS interested in giant red parrots?

Theo.

Theo is a 24 year old male blue and gold macaw. He, after months of effort, successfully shared a cage with my previous scarlet macaw. One of my hopes in bringing home Tlalli is that she and Theo could be friends as well. I’ve found, over the years, that a similar species companion is a form of enrichment that most of my parrots really appreciate and that does not (despite all comments to the contrary that people including me have made in the past) really affect their ability to be a pet.

In fact, in many cases, they’re calmer and happier and more willing to interact if they’ve got a companion. This assumes that the owners are willing to learn how to train and interact with parrots. A lot of what we consider ‘love’ in parrots looks a whole lot like ‘mate behaviour’. If they have a more appropriate mate, they tend to interact with us slightly differently, but in a good way.

All of that said… I was really curious to see how Theo would react to Tlalli. And the answer is way, way better than I had hoped. No aggressive posturing, only curiosity.

Tlalli’s awfully pretty though, so you can understand why he’d feel that she was interesting.

They hung out together for a good long while on stands next to each other.

Nice, relaxed body language.

Tlalli had some fun destroying things too.

Next steps for them is to move Tlalli’s cage downstairs so that they can hang out near each other, and then begin alternating them in different cages.

That, plus them hanging out together upstairs, which they’re doing now.

It’s wonderful to watch. I love my caws.

Posted in Kyklos, Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli | Leave a comment

More red bird? MORE RED BIRD!

I’m going to be cruel to you, my readers, and force you to wait for an entirely different post to see the pictures of her meeting the rest of the household. (Spoiler: She’s healthy and we’ve broken quarantine and I’m posting these pictures with a pair of macaws in my kitchen).

First, you need to truly appreciate how evil and mean this bird is.

She really does not enjoy head scratches at all.

Not even a little bit.

She also doesn’t much care for treats (unsalted tortilla chip here).

And when you stop scratching her head, she pathetically has to do it herself.

Could you resist this face?

No, no you could not. Me neither.

Then, when the cuddle time is over, it’s flying time!

Flying time is when you hold onto her toes and fling her around and she flaps like crazy and shrieks with joy.

It looks a little like this.

Sometimes, flying time ends up looking like this. (Best part of this picture is that she thoughtfully said “Hello!” to me while I took it.)

It’s normal to have a greenwing macaw on your head, right?

Then there’s crazy upside down joy. (Please note cat in microwave in background.)

Every night, she does flying around. Good exercise! I expect at some point she’ll actually fly using her wings, not her people. :)

Posted in Cats, Jellylorum, Parrots, Tlalli | Leave a comment

Non-avians living together, mass hysteria!

18 months ago, we brought home a lovely chocolate point siamese cat who we named Jellylorum.

Jelly got nicknamed almost immediately ‘The Hater’ for her opinion on dogs. Despite having been raised with a dog, she took an immediate dislike to ours, and unlike most cats who would go away or act afraid, Jelly likes to get up close and hate.

She wants to make sure the dogs KNOW how much she hates them.

And she especially hated our doberman, Noire.

Which makes this picture all the more fascinating.

Jelly and Noire even have MATCHING LAZER eyes.

And then, when she’s not napping with Noire, she’s helping us cook. She’s very helpful.

The other cats have no issue with the doglet, as you can see.

Macavity, in fact, has loved her since he was a kitten. Or more of a kitten than he is now, anyways.

And, last but not least, Nemo shows that he is also very helpful in drinking the remnants of the whey drained from the yogurt.

Now that I’ve gone through the mammal pictures, we can dive right into the tons and tons and tons of parrot pictures that I have. :)

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Noire | Leave a comment

All red bird, all the time.

Which is funny, of course, because the last several posts have not, in fact, involved a red bird.

We’ve had Tlalli just over three weeks now, and she’s settling in wonderfully. There’s a few specific things that I require of parrots, and that I work on immediately with new parrots.

1) Diet. Most parrots that come to my house don’t eat a healthy and varied diet, so the first thing I do is convert them to that. Tlalli’s already happily eating a pelleted diet, but still refuses to eat most fresh foods. We’re working on it.

2) Environmental enrichment. A lot of parrots won’t play with toys off the bat. Tlalli’s been heavily encouraged to start destroying bird toys rather than her feathers (which you can see in the pictures below). I believe we’ve reduced her feather barbering by nearly 80% at this point just through enrichment. Success!

3) Baths. She came already loving baths, and is currently being soaked every day or every other day with great splashy joy.

We’ve gone to the vet this weekend, which she did not particularly enjoy, but was required. Exam went well, her beak was trimmed to hopefully help the slight scissoring she has, and we’re just waiting for results of her bloodwork to release her into the rest of the house. It’s sad though, she’s still a little quieter after the stress of yesterday (she needed quite a bit of beak work), and the house feels much quieter.

I don’t have any post vet pictures of her new, fancy, baby looking beak, but I do have these. Enjoy!

“Cracker?”

Pretty girl!

Super, super pretty girl. :)

Told you she was playing with toys.

More toys, more!

It warms my heart so much to see the parrot who sat on top of a cage and didn’t even eat the windowsill start to interact more with her environment.

Gooooo rumpled parrot!

Posted in Parrots, Tlalli | Leave a comment

Gypsy, ??? – January 15, 2014

In October of 2001, I went to the San Jose (California) Animal Shelter with the intention of adopting a male orange tabby kitten.

I left with an adult female calico cat.

Gypsy had a ton of health issues throughout her life, was prone to getting overstimulated if you petted her too much, and tried very hard to be the most invasive creature in the house.

She got to live in a ton of different houses in two countries, and had a lot of friends, some of whom she loved, and some of whom she hated.

Other than being somewhat quieter (and hyperthyroid, which was well managed), Gypsy was in great shape until earlier today, where she went downhill rapidly and died about an hour ago.

As she was an adult when she came home, we don’t know how old she was — probably somewhere between 15 and 17.

It was a good, long life, and she was a fun companion for the past twelve and a half years.

Good bye, Gypsy.

Posted in Cats, Gypsy | 2 Comments

Tlalli’s story, part two.

I often don’t put much stock in fate, really. All of how we brought home Tlalli seemed quite magical, but mostly coincidences.

Until today.

In March of 2013, I saw a post for a four year old greenwing macaw on kijiji. I actually spoke with the woman on the phone, offered some suggestions, but decided that it wasn’t the right time. And it wasn’t, I still wanted a macaw mostly to make Schrodinger not dead, and that’s not the right reason.

The woman had owned the macaw for about two years, having purchased her from a family. The family apparently purchased her from PJs pet centre (let’s talk about types of parrots completely inappropriate to sell in pet stores, shall we?).

The woman sold her to a man with a contract specifying that he’d give her back if he couldn’t keep her. She rehomed her for her sake, thinking that someone with more time (the man had no other pets) would help her feather destruction.

The man (who lived over an hour away from my house) sold her at some point between then and now to a man who lived nearby. The woman tried desperately to get her back, but did not succeed.

And I bought the same macaw that I inquired about in March from the second man.

I spoke with the woman tonight, because I had kept her email address. I have a ton of pictures of Tlalli (previously Emmy, not Amy) when she was younger, and the warm knowledge that she was loved.

Sometimes, it’s hard to really fight with fate. Tlalli will, of course, stay here. Her previous owner will come visit, and we’ll work on her feather destruction. At worst, she’ll be a rumpled, beloved greenwing.

I have an update on her to post soon, but I wanted to say this while I remembered all the details.

Posted in Parrots, Tlalli | Leave a comment

Oh, it’s a bit cold, it’s a bit cold, it’s a bit cold.

As you may be aware, most of North America has been quite chilly in the past few weeks. Here, in Southwestern Ontario, we’ve had temperatures and wind chills down to -25 to -40 C, which I am not going to bother to translate to F for two reasons.

1) -40 C and -40 F are the same.
2) Even -25 C is cold enough that you don’t need to know the exact number. It’s just ridiculously cold.

This is, of course, immediately after the Ice Storm that cut our power for a few hours.

On December 29th, our furnace started making a weird noise. We called the repair people, and they said we needed a new blower motor and wheel. They ordered it, and thus we began 11 days of utter incompetence that isn’t worth the additional stress of discussing.

To make a long story very very short, our furnace died completely on January 3rd. Our house has different problems than many houses when it comes to lack of heat. In this situation, we had one really large (or actually, not all that big) problem.

His name is Radish, and he’s a mostly naked cherry headed conure.

Parrots, despite thoughts to the contrary, do pretty well with cold. They’re wearing down comforters after all. But parrots who have no feathers have a lot less ability to regulate their own warmth.

The other issue is that Tlalli is still in quarantine, and thus we should try to keep a warm spot upstairs and a warm spot downstairs.

We purchased multiple space heaters, made a spot for Tlalli to sleep in the office on the main floor, and kept the basement toasty warm. The mammals, on the other hand, had to deal with the gas fireplace alone.

And thus began five days of utter fireplace worship.

Noire had to share the fireplace dog bed with a number of cats.

Nemo is clearly traumatized by the presence of Noire, as you can clearly see.

Three cats, one dog.

Mac says, “What? Everyone warms their balls against the fireplace.”

It’s such a hard life — for days, our house looked like this.

If your question is ‘why are there only two oriental cats there?’, the answer is simple.

Jelly’s nickname is The Hater, not because she’s hateful, but because of her opinion on dogs. She’s not scared of them, she just despises them as the lowlifes they are, and thus she would never, ever lower herself to sleeping on a bed with a DOG, despite the cold.

Needless to say, everyone enjoyed life better when the heat came back, but they still seem to like laying on the fireplace bed, even with the fireplace off.

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Gypsy, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Noire | Leave a comment

The Ice Storm.

Just before Christmas, Toronto was hit with nearly 36 hours of freezing rain, which did a horrific amount of damage to trees, cut power for almost everyone, and made the entire world into an ice skating rink.

We didn’t have any major tree damage (lost a single branch off one), only a little shrub damage and that should grow back just fine. We now own the only large elm on our street though.

Even if the ice was dangerous and horrible, it was also beautiful.

Our baby crabapple in the backyard was bent in two, with each little apple encased in ice.

Truly bent in half.

As was the birch in the front.

It made our contorted filbert look awesome though.

Our elm survived.

Our neighbours’, not so much.

With the sun out, the entire world looked like it was made of crystal.

And walks around the neighbourhood were full of beauty.

But… I’m still glad it’s all mostly melting today. :)

Posted in The Garden, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cats, helping.

I have a ton of older pictures that apparently I’ve never posted, so I’m going to make a handful of posts over the next while to catch up.

As anyone who’s even glanced at this blog knows, I have cats. Three of my cats are purebreds of one of the breeds in the Oriental or Siamese breed group.

These cats are not exactly like living with your average every day domestic shorthair. They like to help. They like to be right there with you, up in your way, making sure that nothing in the world is not beautified with a nice dusting of cat hair.

They have personalities on a scale that can barely be described.

But, most importantly, they like to help. A lot.

As an example, after the dogs pre-wash the dishes, the cats like to get right in there and make sure that they’re still good.

Macavity is VERY thorough.

And extremely disapproving when he’s bodily removed. Granted, Macavity is disapproving in more or less every situation, in every possible way.

Sometimes, they like to help by jumping on your shoulder, and generally, they love company.

Cat juggling is harder than it looks.

They like to help you make sure you keep the dogs in line.

They assist you with holding down the fish tank light as well. As a quick side note, this was in the few weeks in which Macavity entirely lost his neck. He’s had some serious awkwardness in his growth spurts of late, but appears to be potentially turning into a cat again. Here’s to hoping.

They also like to assist you with your posture.

Everyone needs a hunchback, right?

So, in summary, if you too might need some help in your life, I highly recommend an Oriental breed. If you’re in the GTA and looking for one, these guys came from Just Oriamese and Siam Jewels, and both catteries are great to deal with and have excellent cats.

Just very, very helpful.

Posted in Cats, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo | Leave a comment