Dream Birds and the Future Flock
May 15, 2011 § 7 Comments
On almost every forum or parrot-related group with which I’m involved, this topic comes up every few months without fail. “What are your dream birds,” or “What will your future flock be?” I love these two questions, because for me, these two questions produce very different responses. I think that most people tend to have set dream birds in mind, with the intention of one day adding them to their flocks. I have a lovely list of dream birds, and absolutely no intentions of adding most of them to my flock one day at all.
You see, as much as I love parrots, and so many different species of them, and as much as I envy my friends who have flocks of five or nine or even well into the double digits, I know that I am not cut out for that. I’ve got a flock of three relatively “easy” little angels right now, and am not sure that I’d ever really want to go over that number, period. In fact, if it weren’t for the budgies being so tiny and easy to transport together in one travel carrier, I’m not sure I’d ever really want to go above a flock of two.
And it’s really not at all for the normal reasons: I can deal with noise relatively well (and would be much more comfortable with it if I owned a house); I can deal with mess; I can deal with the cost of upkeep; I can deal with all of those birdie meals and whatnot. But I do travel quite a bit, and having just my three makes it easy for me to get them into their carriers with relative ease and drive a few states over to visit my friends and family. I also know that I will be moving, most likely across the country, in the next few years, and moving with just my three is already stressing me out. Finally, having a small flock of three makes me feel much more comfortable in my preparation for all emergency situations, although I do of course hope that my plans never have to be put into motion. But goodness forbid there were a fire or other emergency in my building; I would be a wreck just having to deal with my three as is. It also comforts me to know that should I pass away unexpectedly, the chances of my few being able to stay together are much higher since I don’t have a huge number of them. And last but certainly not least is the big pain in the bum that quarantine is!
Anyway, let’s talk about more fun things: dream birds! If I could clone myself and lengthen the number of hours in a day and days per week, here are all of the birds I’d be really tempted to add. Of course, most of these will never happen, and if any ever do, it won’t be until long after I am very familiar with what Lola is like when she is experiencing hormones. But here’s the list!
Number One: a male Cape Parrot
Here’s a no brainer… a male Cape Parrot! I love my little Lola girl so much that I would love for her to have a partner in crime one day. I have absolutely zero intentions to breed and in fact will do all I can to avoid that situation ever arising, but, I would just love to let her have a little bit of species-appropriate love in her life. I am very hopeful that any future birds I bring home will be adoptions, so although I’d love a fellow Brown-Necked parrot, I am flexible as to the subspecies.
Although for a long while a male Cape has been my only true “dream” bird as it was the only one I ever thought I’d actually bring home, lately I’ve been having a lot of second thoughts. Although I love my little Cape girl, I do think it is largely due in part to her being a very special little Cape, and my having worked with her as a baby to bring out certain behaviors and to prevent others. She is very much a “perfect” parrot to me– not Capes in general, as I have read about many others who are indeed quite different– but my little Lola in particular. I am nervous that a second Cape, and especially an adopted one as I hope any of my future birds will be, might not live up to my high expectations. Of course, this would all be okay with me as long as Lola were enamored, but that’s my second fear. Ever since bringing Sabrina home and being really surprised by the fact that she and Charles don’t quite get along all that well, I am worried about the possibility that Lola might hate her future friend, or that he might hate her.
So, I’m actually as of right now not sure if I will actually go for a male Cape Parrot in the future, even if I were to find one that needed a good home. I have always been a strong believer in pairing up birds, but I do also believe that you should want the bird, too, even if he did not get along with your existing flock. I’m not really certain that I want another Cape Parrot myself; I just want a friend for Lola.
Number Two: a male Hyacinth Macaw
Well, here’s another no brainer, a Hy of course! Sure, it’s horribly cliched to dream of a Hyacinth, but I do. I love these big beauties. I have never met a single one with whom I didn’t instantly have a love connection. I love their big, sweet eyes and their clowny personalities. And I seem to be especially attracted to species with oddly large beaks. Well, there isn’t any bigger beak than the Hy! I think there is a true aura of majesty about these birds. I do love the large macaws in general and I know that this sounds odd, but, for some reason the exposed skin area of the Ara macaws has always freaked me out a little bit. I really like that the Hy has yellow instead, and more of an eye ring rather than a patch. Odd, I know.
Having lived with a mini macaw and from my experience with pretty much every macaw I’ve met and especially the wonderful ones I used to work with at the rescue, I can honestly say that there is truly nothing like being loved by a macaw.
Of course, there are many special considerations to take before bringing home a large macaw. Personally, I would really feel the need to own a home before even thinking about seeking out a large macaw. I would also want a very large, customized, American-made stainless steel or anodized aluminum cage– the largest of the double macaw-sized cages as a bare minimum– and a yard large enough to have an outdoor aviary. Then there’s the obvious fact that Hys are, of course, incredibly hard to come by as rehomes. If I were ever at a place where I felt I could properly care for one, I would probably spend a few years looking for a rehome before considering finding a baby.
Number Three: a female Green-winged Macaw
I adore these beautiful, colorful parrots, especially for their horn-colored beaks. Of all the macaw species, Hys and Green-wingeds do it for me the most. It goes for both of them: I have yet to meet a single one of either species with whom I didn’t instantly fall in love. I think that I have an instinctual connection with these two moreso than the other macaws.
I will admit that if I ever were at the point where I was ready to bring home a large macaw, I’d strongly favor a Hyacinth over a Green-winged. So, this is one of those dream birds that I will likely never actually add to the flock.
Number Four: a Golden or Queen of Bavaria Conure
My goodness… have you ever seen another parrot more beautiful? In my opinion, Goldens truly take the cake. Their radiant yellow feathers just glow in person, and they have the most beautiful, expressive eyes and shiny, almost mother-of-pearl colored beaks. I adore these beauties.
Although they are ideal in terms of size, I know that this is one parrot with which I will always have the “look but don’t touch” philosophy. As much as I adore them and love to play with them whenever I see them at bird stores or wherever, I will never bring one home. I have had many a large macaw scream in my ear and leave my whole body ringing, but nothing compares to the shrill screeches that these guys can produce!
Number Five: a female Maximilian’s Pionus
Photos truly cannot do justice to this incredibly beautiful parrot. I had read this many times on the internet prior to ever seeing one in person, and I thought it was just sympathetic people trying to raise this species’s popularity, but as soon as I met my first in person, I knew exactly what they met. Pionus parrots have some of the most incredibly expressive eyes I have ever seen, and their feathers have an incredible, iridescent, and multifaceted sheen that truly does not photograph well at all. Despite their apparent dullness in photos, there is nothing dull about them in real life.
I had always had a crush on these gorgeous parrots. Like the majority of my dream birds, though, this is another one I don’t plan on ever actually owning. Pionus are wonderful, sweet, and relatively quiet parrots, but I’ve already got my perfect angel parrot.
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So, that’s the list! For now, at least. Had you asked me a few months ago (and perhaps some of you have seen the very similar post I made on Avian Avenue), I would have included Fiery-Shouldered Conures and Lineolated Parakeets, two species I also adore. Just a few months of extra experience has made me realize, however, that I do not think I will add any more small birds to my flock in the future. They are so incredibly delicate and in my opinion, more stressful to own than the large ones.
That said, of course, that does mean that this list is surely subject to change, and probably will, although these five have remained pretty constant for the past few years. Like I said above, I’m not cut out for a large flock anyway, so most of these are truly just dream birds.