Foster Parrots is lucky to have an amazing family of volunteers who bring a diversity of skills and experiences to our sanctuary. This summer Colleen DeSimone joined our volunteer force as part of a school project in community engagement, part of her class assignment was to write blog posts about our sanctuary and her experience here. We take pride knowing that our work here is not only to take care of these amazing animals, but also to offer people an opportunity to grow and learn!
by Colleen DeSimone, Student & Foster Parrots Volunteer
While I’ve only volunteered at Foster Parrots for a short time, I’ve already become very fond of the beautiful birds that live here. Some of these feathered creatures have been retired here, while others, sadly, have been abused in some way, and have been rescued by Foster Parrots and given a new home where they are loved and nurtured. This is where they come to have their dignity restored.
Whatever their previous circumstances, they now reside in large, spotlessly clean cages, each having a distinctive personality that is both endearing and sometimes, a little frightening. Of course, this means they have their bad days from time to time. These birds are intelligent and have some very human characteristics. It is this humaness that I hope to capture and introduce to you in a way that allows you to see them as I do.
1. Snowbird: An English Gentleman
I’d like you to meet Snowbird. He is one of the retirees here and loves humans and human contact. He’s a gentle, affectionate soul. His movements are deliberate and controlled, and when he turns to look at you, he’s the picture of calm tranquility, and enquiry.
“Aren’t you going to scratch, or at the very least, talk to me?” his watchful expression seems to say.
I think he’d look perfectly debonair in a top hat and cane!
Snowbird has a roommate named Sweet Pea who could be called quite a few things, but sweet is definitely not one of them! He has a particularly angry, mafia-type character, and is only a third of Snowbirds size. He patrols and sits in the front of the cage, waiting for unwary visitors to venture close and mistake him for another sweet soul.
Fortunately, not even Sweet Pea seems to phase the gentle Snowbird.
2. Tucker: Huh, who's there?!
Aaah, and then there’s young Tucker, an interesting person to be sure. The first time I became aware of him, I was startled and somewhat disconcerted to find him peering down at me, quite calmly, from his perch on the cage above, exactly like he is now.
At first I thought it was a joke, like when a hunter has the head of an animal they’ve killed “taxidermied,” and mounted on a wall.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case at all, he simply believes that the view is far better outside than it is inside the cage. I think he likes to pop out for a breath of fresh air from time to time, to get away from his roommates and gather his thoughts. Well, whatever it is, it’s very entertaining!
“Oh look, there is more!”
3. Digit: What are you looking at?
Last, but certainly not least, is Digit, also a retiree, and a very special bird. His little feet are deformed so he’s unable to hold onto a perch, and so he sits on a soft, warm platform that is easy to balance on.
He adores Monica, and is in his element when he gets to sit with her during the day, soaking up all the love and attention she bestows on him.
I made the mistake of thinking he was a gentle bundle of feathers, but he also has his feisty side. Apparently, he’s been unwell for some time, and now that he’s feeling better, he’s found his inner Cockatooness, which when directed at me, is loosely sandwiched between a smidgen of aloofness and complete and utter boredom. However, I haven’t given up trying to woo him over to my way of thinking with pistachios and pieces of apple. I know, I know, it is bribery, but he won’t know! Actually, parrots are quite extraordinary in this regard, most of the time they either like you, or they don’t, period.
Well, that’s all for this edition, but I’ll be back with more interesting introductions to birds like Sweet Pea/Birdfather, and others.
- Colleen Desimone, Foster Parrots Volunteer