Love at First Feather

Written By: B.D. Butler - Sep• 13•13
I got happily here.

I got happily here.

I believe in fate, I believe that some things are meant to “just be” and it’s out of our control.  I also believe that people come into your lives for a reason and they provide a gateway for something new and positive.  Whether it be a new path, direction, vision or point of view.  Openness is important to learning and growing as individuals.

photo-3Over a month ago we brought Gryffin, our foster Ducorps Cockatoo, home to give him a trial in our house.  We wanted to give him the best shot that we could.  Unfortunately, he just didn’t get along with Dexter and Cooper, in fact I think there was a level of dislike there that I haven’t quite seen my greys have.  I know it happens, but it was also very disheartening, especially when you have the best of intentions.  I had this vision of owning a rare Ducorps Cockatoo, unfortunately fate didn’t have quite the same vision.

We tried several options to get the greys to somewhat bond with him.  Really, all he wanted to do was play, or actually I think it would translate to “steal your toys when you aren’t looking”.  There were quite a few times that we had some near misses with the birds almost getting into it.  I just didn’t want that kind of tense environment in my house.  I don’t think any bird needs that.  I know that some of you will probably say, “why didn’t you just move him” and the answer to that is easy.  We have a very small house, and there is no room anywhere else.  I truly wish that we had another living space that we could have easily moved him to.  Alas, no, that is just not an option.

photoWe have a beach cabin on the Washington coast that we travel to with the birds and the dogs. When we get to the cabin, we always set up one of our large tents, so they can play outside, safely outdoors, without the threat of predators nabbing them.  They love it, and I love the fact it gets them out of their comfort zone.  In my experience, parrots have a tendency to be more receptive when they are out of their element.  What a perfect time to try to get the greys and Gryffin to interact, right?  Wrong.  Still no dice, I also noticed Gryffin wanted nothing to do with them either.  He didn’t care about being the odd man out, as long as they left him alone.  And vice versa.

There were many nights that week I sat and watched them all in their travel cages and thought, “what is going to be best for this situation?”   I then realized that I was going to have to check my ego at the door and do what was best for Gryffin.  This wasn’t my vision, damn it.  This wasn’t how it was all supposed to go, right?  Actually until yesterday, I didn’t necessarily think it was.

We decided it would be best for Gryffin to find him a home with fewer birds and more people, since that is after all his favorite thing in the world. People.  So I activated the bird phone tree.  Friends of Debbie Goodrich, The Parrot Lady of Washington, happen to call after I put out the bat signal.  After extensive conversations and questions they came to meet Gryffin and I have to say, I just had a feeling this was going in the right direction.  They own a Maximillian Parrot and had a female Congo African Grey, but she recently died of egg binding.  They weren’t sure if they were ready for a new bird, but thought “hey, let’s meet him”.

jena.gryffinIt was love at first feather.  Jena approached the cage door, and without hesitation, opened it.  I was a bit leery, because Gryffin had a tendency to not like strangers.  In fact I tried to get all of the “new” people that came over to give him treats, just to get him socialized.  Amazingly enough, Gryffin came right to her.  No screams, no issues.  Just curiosity.  I was very thrilled at this reaction.  A short time later, he made his way out of the cage and she fearlessly approached him again.  Instead of backing away, like he usually does with strangers, he put his head down for scratches to the head.  He didn’t even warm up to me that fast!  He then began doing his little show for her.  I knew, this bird was meant to be with me for this short time, so he could meet his “person”.  It’s a very rare thing to see, when a bird just chooses someone they have never met, but when it happens, it’s truly magical.

After a few hours chatting, they decided that they were absolutely in love with him, and agreed to take him home.  I couldn’t have been happier.  If Gryffin couldn’t be completely happy in my home, at least he could in someone else’s.  David and Jena are local pirates here in the Pacific Northwest and do tons of charity events and fundraising, and I can just see Gryffin on one of their shoulders entertaining people for great causes.  I’m very happy and can’t wait to see Gryffin get settled with his new family.keep-calm-and-try-your-best-2

Sometimes when you bring a bird into your home it doesn’t “work” and that’s okay.  At least you are trying.  You’re making the effort to give them love and a home.  I have learned that just because I write a blog, and have a website about parrots, doesn’t mean that I am the bird whisperer.  It just means that I am a human, trying to do right by these beautiful feathered creatures.  Because just when you think you are a destination, it can turn out that you are just a detour for them to find their happiness.

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  1. Charlotte Carlile says:

    I got through that in my head ALL THE TIME. This place is small! It’s just ME! He only gets outside on the balcony! He has no other birdie friends to play with! He is not being socialized because it’s just ME! How can he be happy! But then, he’s healthy and chirpy and will sit on my shoulder and ‘beak’ kiss my cheek. He calls for me constantly when I’m out of the room and has special whistles for me. He is a Senegal and they are not notoriously friendly to others, birds or people. So, when my head starts that game, I go over to the cage and talk to him. His eyes will pin and he will rush to the door for me to let him out. He’ll climb up on the door and lift his little dinosaur foot to be picked up. So even if my head says, ‘maybe he’s not in the best place’… heart says, ‘get a grip, he’s a happy little toot’. You did the right thing with Gryffin. Just keep us posted on how he is doing.

  2. Sonya Brewer says:

    I knew, this bird was meant to be with me for this short time, so he could meet his “person”. It’s a very rare thing to see, when a bird just chooses someone they have never met, but when it happens, it’s truly magical.

    That was my favorite part. Glad you got to experiance it! For seeing it with your own eyes and knowing you found a fit! “Is magical”.. Being apart of his journey and finding him a good home “AWESOME”. I do hope you follow thru his progress in many years and show us his progress! Loved this!!

  3. Jackie says:

    I had to rehome my 2 fabulous grays because I was allergic to the dust they put out. I had them for 3 yrs and taught them to speak and cuddle. Thanks for your article, I am staying open to what will come into my life, and know I got them the best home possible with the President of the Bird Lovers Club here in south Fl. I have 2 little con ours, and that seems to be OK for now.

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