This little guy gives real meaning to the word "potential." I confess that when I first met him (or her) I thought it looked a lot like a baby buzzard. I knew that all baby birds look sort of ugly if you just take them the way they are. Even the beautiful ones start out that way. Some just take longer to develop their beauty. If the story of the Ugly Duckling is playing in your head, you are not alone.
If you are wondering how we came to be so lucky as to have four new playthings, I will explain that. Four people who we hold to be very special are taking a Christmas cruise. We have the great pleasure of feeding this flock while they are gone and it has, indeed, been a pleasure. When we first agreed to take on that job we did not know it but one of this group will stay with us when their family returns. I really think they wanted to give Sally a bird but knew she wouldn't take it as a gift. Pretty smart. Enough of that. Lets get back to generalities.
The root of the eclectus name is eclectic. They are not all the same. That comes from the extreme difference in the male/female coloring. The girls turn red with some blue or purple and the boys turn green with possibly some splashes of red.
I think this pair is just beautiful. If you want a real handle on the Eclectus Parrot this site will give it to you http://www.parrotparrot.com/species-guides/eclectus-parrots/
There are others like wikipedia.com, but this is written so that even I can understand.
I am very used to our prior parrots thinking that Sally is the best person ever and that I am a "chew toy." I think they were both boys and I heard that boys bond better to female owners. That isn't something that I would want to bet on but I do have a little story from the other side of the spectrum.
When Sally and I met, I had a Cockatiel named Woodrow P. Wilcox. I just called him "Woody," and he and I were best of friends. I would take him everywhere on my shoulder. Except for the increased laundry load, that did not make any problems. Then one day Woody began to lay eggs and I had to change her name to "Woodrina." Just made that name right up out of thin air. I had her for a number of years and she survived my sons teen years by some miracle. That went right along with the theory that opposite sexes attract. Below is the same wing 48 hours later.
These birds were not really domesticated in the United States until the 1980's so nobody is really sure how old they can get. One site said probably thirty years old. Another had a pair that was 30 that still reproduced. I think the jury is still out but I would expect it is a lot longer than 30. Some parrots live to be over 100. I think our baby will outlive us.
It is easy to see the green popping out from other areas on his wing. You can only see a hint of it on the side of his face in the picture but in person (or is that in parrot) it is very pronounced. Yesterday it was not. Really, it is just everywhere today.
Chuy is so named because he chews the straw that feeds him. He will also chew very ineffectively on your finger if you let him.
Coming in as number three here is Sleepy who would rather sleep than eat most of the time. When sleepy is engaged he shows proper development compared to the others. Sleepy finally showed some green feathers which means my theory on size holds no water.
The linked site above says that by the time they are weaned at four months they can frequently speak a word if that word has been repeated often by the feeder. If so, Ruby may be saying "Gimme Kiss" when we are done feeding.
She talks to us now when we incite her but it probably is not what it seems. One site described these talking symptoms as those of a bird with stunted development and not enough food. We fed her some more and she stopped squawking.
This little lady is Ruby and she is the oldest of the babies and does not look the part. She does act the part. Although she is not bigger she is more coordinated and active. She responds to affection and is really capturing us. The littlest one of the bunch is also very affectionate. He has yet to show any color like the other three. I don't have a clue if his growth will catch up. May not know before we have to give him back.
We just saw the first red pinfeather on number three, Chuy and nothing yet on number four, Sleepy. One thing I can be sure of is that tomorrow will show us something different and unexpected.
This is an Eclectus female and a Sun Conure. Our Congo was an African Gray and I feel the eclectus will be just a little larger than him. If you have seen the Conure in a pet store this should give you a better perspective.
Not a lot today. Just wanted to point out Ruby's feathers. She is crawling all over me as I type. She is taking an interest in the computer as we go. She went from my chest to the keyboard as I wrote about her. Back to the feathers. You can see the red ones in the center of the wing but to the right are feathers that are blue. She gets prettier every day.
Painful adolescence has a whole new meaning to me. So does the ugly duckling story.
I guess they showed me.
We are coming to a crossroads on Ruby. She is the oldest but her development has been slow. Her mom favored her brother and it stunted her. We don't know that she won't face a struggle if we don't take her. We have come to the conclusion though that Greengo will make a better pet. But Ruby sure does snuggle well and that's high on our list of good things.
When you feed these critters you can see they are going through the same motions as when their parent regurgitates food for them in the wild. There was another that tried to steal Ruby's food while she was feeding (chuy) and I think it was patterning that you would see if they were eating regurgitated food. Maybe she was ceding dominance to Ruby or maybe I'm wrong and she was just hungry.
The closest ones below just want to snuggle when they have been fed. The furthest one is the runt of the litter and he seems to not be quite ready yet. Think he will grow slowly like Ruby did. Ok with me.
I wish I could capture the images that I see. My skills are limited but I keep playing with exposure, shadows, contrast etc and birds develop from the mass of the picture. I think when they are bigger it will be easier.
Every day is more fun as these little guys develop personalities.
Well the family of our little flock is returning tomorrow so I am going to close out this chapter of the story tonight. I think this picture shows something of how they have developed over the past week plus.
I think Sally is going to want to go with Greengo who is the bird on the right. Ruby is the one he is nuzzling with and this is not strange or different. I think I find them together more than any of the others. I am all for making an offer on her but her Mommy may want to make other arrangements. Nearest the camera is Chuy who was named for her propensity to chew on the feeding pipette. Turns out she is going to be a redhead also. On the left is sleepy who is the runt of the litter but is starting to grow. Sally stuck a few names on him to incite that and she used Samson the longest. He is growing and suitably wary of haircuts. Now just in case you do not remember the original look, I will save you the trouble of scrolling. The picture below was taken on the first or second day.
I did this once before with dogs. Raised two sisters and it was the best of all circumstances. If we give them the right type of attention that should apply here as well.
I intend to open a new blog with these two but I know this is just like baby pictures. I intend to post once or twice a week. I will take more pictures than that but for the two or three readers who have enjoyed this little trip I don't want to wear out their welcome. By the way. If this looks like fun to you I can tell you that you can buy one for $500. At a pet store they are about double that. Just email me and I will put you in touch with the people who have them.