Travey’s Story by Julie Corwin

Written By: B.D. Butler - Nov• 01•12

Travey’s Story by Julie Corwin (2nd place in Parrot Earth’s 100th Blog Post Writing Contest)


      Travey Re Esta is a mature female Magna Double Yellow, and has had quite an exciting life, with many stories to tell.  Travey was actually a smuggled bird, but not like the horror stories that we see and hear about of illegal smuggling and birds that are injured or die in the process.

      Travey’s original owner was a Spanish Opera Singer who lived in Arizona but traveled back and forth to Mexico to see family.  She brought Travey home from Mexico as a very young baby by letting her travel in her bra.  Travey traveled with her owner and owner’s husband around the United States learning to sing Opera in Spanish and also learned to talk in English and Spanish.  This was the lifestyle of Travey and the family who owned her for 18 years.

     Sadly when Travey’s female owner died, she stopped singing and talking.  I met the husband and talked with him several times over the months following the death of his wife.  One day, he asked me to come to his house and check on his bird.  She was not eating well, and had not talked or sang in at least a month.  I told him I was not a vet but I will come and look at her.  He seemed very concerned, and wanted the opinion of someone experienced with birds.

     When I went to visit, Travey was sitting on top of her cage, and got very excited when she saw me.  She started pacing around on the top of the cage and reaching towards me as far as she could reach.  The Husband told me that even though her wings had never been clipped, Travey had never flown.  When I started talking to her, she talked back and started singing.   It turns out, my voice and body structure was somewhat similar to her former owner.  The husband asked me if I wanted to buy her since she seemed so happy to see me.  I told him, I could not possibly afford to buy a bird that expensive.


photo courtesy of: Julie Corwin

      I was in my early 20’s at the time, and raising 2 young children on a limited income.  So to buy an expensive bird such as Travey was just not within my budget.
     A week later he came to me again, and said he would let me take her home if I could afford $20 a month.  She still was not eating well, and had not talked or sang since I left that day.   I was shocked by his offer, but he was sincere, so I agreed.  When I went to his house to take her home, she again got very excited, with lots of talking and singing, and stepped right on to my arm.  The husband again said how much the bird liked me, and he thought it would make his wife happy to know Travey seem to enjoy being with me. 
      Travey came to live with me about the time I had set up a portable bird supply store every weekend at the flea market.  She went with me every weekend, and the husband of her previous owner would come and visit her.  After a few months of my making the measly $ 20 payments, her owner told me that Travey was mine and paid in full.  He said he could see how happy she was with me, and really did not pay any attention to him when he came to visit at that point.  I promised she would always live with me as long as I there was any way possible for me to keep her. He was planning to move away from the area and closer to family, so I probably would not see him again.  As he said his final goodbye to Travey, she cocked her head sideways, and made a kiss sound.  It seemed a very fitting goodbye, and brought tears to my eyes.
     Travey had been raised as the single bird in the household for over 18 years, and I quickly found out she did not play well with other birds.  It was if she thought she was a person and not a bird.  She loved to be with people and to do things with people and eat what people would eat.  She was not interested in other birds, and would try to attack them if they got too close to her. She also became very attached to me.
     She would use other people as a ladder to get to me.  My young sons learned quickly to say “wanna go see Mom” and Travey would step right to their arm or hand.  When they got to close to me she would lean as far as she could in attempt to reach me.  Travey quickly learned to imitate my voice and both of my sons.  It was sometimes hard to know for sure if it was the bird talking or one of us humans. 
    Travey continued to go with me every weekend for several years as I slowly built a bird business.  I also did educational events where people could see different birds.  These events were for people that did not normally go to a pet store or to a zoo. I visited people in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living situations and other similar environments.  I also discovered Travey loved to show off for kids and whistle for anyone who will whistle back. She began going with me to Schools, Church events, Day Care, 4H meetings and many other places.  Her talking and whistling became a game for the kids.  It was almost as if Travey was trying to teach them.  She would whistle in stages, one part first and then wait for the kids to respond, then the next part.  She did the same with words or phrases. 
     Travey has been part of my educational avian ambassador team for 30 years.  She has moved across country with my family several times, and always takes things right in stride.  She has watched my passion with birds and different species over the years, and does not seem to mind sharing our home with them as long as she has her space and gets the normal amount of attention she desires.  She watched my sons grow up and learned to accept them as men, and not the young children they once were. 

I got my opera singer here.

     Travey still sings a bit of Opera now and then and still says a few phrases in Spanish.  But due to the fact we are an English-speaking family, she does not sing or talk as much in Spanish as she did in the earlier years when she first joined our family.  She stills prefers people food over so-called bird food.  Although she is easy to feed because she will literally eat anything a human would eat.
     Her favorite time is when the birds are getting a mist bath and will fling water over an amazing amount of space.  Like most Amazons she will also bathe in her water dish, or her special bath dish, and will continue until she is totally soaked.  If I refill her dish during a bath, she will continue until the water is gone.

I got my pic for amazon taking a bath here.

     Even though she had been surgically sexed as a female, Travey has never laid an egg, probably due to the fact she has not had a bird for a mate, and has not been put into a nesting environment.  Also to this day she still has never flown.  I guess she does not think she is a bird………..
     As most of us do, Travey is slowing down a little in her senior years.  Since she is over 50 years old now, she is semi-retired from attending events with me.  She stills goes once in a while if it is an event close by, but not traveling as much as she used to.  Travey is starting to show some signs of arthritis in her feet, which is one of the reasons I don’t take her on long trips anymore.  She continues to climb all over in her cage, and plays with her toys, but her grip is not as tight, and she moves a little slower than the younger birds.
     I still appreciate the sincerity of the husband of her former owner, who let Travey come live with me, to a life she enjoys, even though I could not come close to be able to pay for her at the time.  I have kept my promise and Travey has been with me for over 30 years now.  I know her lifespan is closing in, however she has lived a full and rewarding life, and I have enjoyed being part of it.

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