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The Odd Couple

Poetic Ramblings 2011/10/17 18:19:23

SLIDESHOW: The Odd Couple

Sparky
1 of 3

Sparky

  1. Sparky

    Sparky

  2. Jr.

    Jr.

  3. Spark and June

    Spark and June

The Odd Couple

Just sharing the story of two of our birds: Sparky Sparky Boom Hen "Sparky" and Miss Petey Jr. "Junior." :)

Junior is a type II yellow face Australian budgie. We unofficially rescued her from an overcrowded cage at the pet store 10 years ago. She was the last budgie added to our flock of budgies (they're very social birds), and despite her efforts, she was never accepted into the group.

Sparky is a cinnamon pearl cockatiel. We adopted her from a dog shelter 5 years ago. Her name was Kisses then, and at 2 years old she was already missing a toe and all of the flight feathers on her left wing. Her cage was small and rusty and lacking in any toys or perches (which resulted in even more problems with her grip). After taking her home, we soon discovered another big problem- she was epileptic. A trip to the vet revealed she was most likely inbred- her wing not a result of a bad clipping, but genetic problems and a poor diet. Her seizures did not improve with medicine, but stopped a few years after we got her- meaning they were most likely the result of heavy metal poisoning. It took that long to leave her system. Her flight feathers grew in wrong for many many molts. Only last year did they start to grow in correctly. Her secondary flight feathers may never grow in, but her primaries are enough for her to fly.

Junior was just barely tame when we got her, and Sparky was incredibly hand shy. They're not the most sociable of birds, but they're comfortable with people and they've got each other. Junior eats more of a variety because she sees Sparky eating it. Sparky plays more because Junior does. And best of all, despite having no former practice, Sparky is now able to fly with Junior. They live together, play together, eat together, and "talk" in each others "languages" (miss budgie makes cockatiel noises and vise versa). Junior's always trying to preen and cuddle with Sparky, but Sparky complains at her when she does. So she'll sneak up and snuggle with her when she's not paying attention.

They're two very different species with not the best of pasts, who have become the best of friends


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Opinions

  • Chukroast 2011/10/17 19:55:20
    Chukroast
    This story is an anthropomorphic delight.
  • Poetic ... Chukroast 2011/10/17 20:23:03 (edited)
    Poetic Ramblings
    +1
    Maybe it is anthropomorphizing slightly, we all do that. But parrots are very social animals. Do you want me to use the more technical "bonded pair" over "friends."

    It was obvious from their interactions that Junior was not accepted as a flock member by the other budgies. This may be because she was the only of her clutch that hatched- it has been observed that parrots that are raised with no clutch mates more often have problems with properly interacting with other birds.

    The fact that they mimic eachothers sounds isn't them really speaking, but it is a form of interaction. When apart, they will call each other in the distinct calls of the other species. (Trust me, these sounds are very discernable).

    Birds in captivity that see birds around them flying are more likely to try to fly as well. (Similarly, Sparky will eat a new food after Junior because she sees it as safe) While it is a natural instinct to try to fly, a lot of birds that haven't been able to fly in the past will choose another primary way to get around.

    As far as the "snuggling" goes- preening is a big flock activity. Sparky does not like anything touching any part of her but her feet , so she rejects this. Flocks also huddle together to sleep. The "complaining" is not me thinkng the can talk, but a dist...

    Maybe it is anthropomorphizing slightly, we all do that. But parrots are very social animals. Do you want me to use the more technical "bonded pair" over "friends."

    It was obvious from their interactions that Junior was not accepted as a flock member by the other budgies. This may be because she was the only of her clutch that hatched- it has been observed that parrots that are raised with no clutch mates more often have problems with properly interacting with other birds.

    The fact that they mimic eachothers sounds isn't them really speaking, but it is a form of interaction. When apart, they will call each other in the distinct calls of the other species. (Trust me, these sounds are very discernable).

    Birds in captivity that see birds around them flying are more likely to try to fly as well. (Similarly, Sparky will eat a new food after Junior because she sees it as safe) While it is a natural instinct to try to fly, a lot of birds that haven't been able to fly in the past will choose another primary way to get around.

    As far as the "snuggling" goes- preening is a big flock activity. Sparky does not like anything touching any part of her but her feet , so she rejects this. Flocks also huddle together to sleep. The "complaining" is not me thinkng the can talk, but a distinct noise cockatiels use to show their displeasure as well as an open beak and spread wings- body language used to drive another bird away.

    The fact that they are bonded is unusual considering Junior is a budgie (a notoriously aggressive species) and Sparky is a cockatiel (a species known for being very submissive), but Junior is not aggresive towards Sparky, and Sparky not intimidated by her.
    (more)
  • Pat 2011/10/17 18:35:31
    Pat
    They sound like quite a pair of best friends! So glad you were able to bring them together. You must have a very kind heart.

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