This is Julien – He is an 🦜 Orange-winged amazon and he is LOUD! In case you were wondering if an amazon is the right bird for you. You ought to know that it should be expected that they call to the jungle twice a day, in the morning and evening, no doubt calling to their flock! The fact that their flock is right before their eyes does not deter these announcers!
We adopted Julien from an exotic bird store. He literally spoke to my husband – saying “Hello” and answering my husband’s question, ‘How are you?,’ by responding “Fine, how are you?” He also extended his foot to be picked up! I now recognize this spark of connectivity as a bird choosing his owner. He was really asking my husband to take him home.
So, we brought him home. I hoped that he and Lorenza, my Yellow-naped amazon, would hit it off and be friends-
Unfortunately, he wasn’t handled too much because he talks and signs, when he chooses to, but otherwise spends his time alone. My husband is usually the only one who is allowed to approach and pet him, though sometimes he lets me too. When my husband tries to get him to step up, which he wanted to do in the bird store, Julien always answer a clear no! Beak’s up and open – that’s a warning. No means no!
Julien’s timid, cowering every time we come near him. Unless, of course, we have dry papaya (which we get from one of our local exotic bird store), a walnut (vet said these help break down fat) or some scrambled egg! Then he cautiously approaches!
He’s also a terrible eater! We’re working on getting him to eat more… at first, it didn’t look like we was transitioning well off of seeds and onto pellets. Is he eating? Did you see if any of the pellets have disappeared out of his bowl? It’s been a couple days…
Whew! He made it! Didn’t want him to starve. We watched carefully. We always try to weigh our birds so that we can note significant weight changes, that we otherwise can’t see or feel. We also monitor their droppings and look for other signs to know what issues may need addressing. We suspect that Julien may have been fed a seed diet, certainly this is what birds are fed in bird shops 😞, so we suspect that he may be in danger of having FLD (Fatty Liver Disease) and that he may have low levels of calcium. Eating a seed-only diet, or a pellet and seed mix means that parrots often only eat the seeds. Ironic, the bird store is trying to save money, but they end up wasting a lot of uneaten food…
A seed-only diet certainly does not offer any kind of balanced diet. In the wild, parrots would eat what they can find and what is in season. A natural mix of foods comes easy this way. In captivity they should be provided with a variety of fresh foods, which I define as greens, veggies, (limited) fruits, nuts and some protein (like eggs). Being lactose intolerant, they should have little to no dairy. Unfortunately, that means that you shouldn’t share your pizza with your parrot! 🍕
Even though he’s a bit grouchy and cranky, Julien has a very sweet side. He’ll talk and sometimes sing in a sweet, melodious voice – as though he’s whispering a poem or singing us a love song. The look in his eyes is soulful, as though he is happy to be with us and wants more. He’s longing to enjoy his life, if only he could come out of his shell. At other times he starts repeating the word Tiko or Kiko – could be Rico… and I can’t help but wonder if Tiko used to be his name… Sometimes I call him Julien-Tiko.
🥕 Then he screams in the evening – Ahhh! We try not to react, as our ears start to ring. Reacting, yelling at him or banging on his cage would only scar him further. This is actually the best time to occupy his beak with anything healthy that he may like.
He wants to be loved, like so many emotionally scared parrots, but he is afraid and doesn’t know how. Little by little, we’ll get him eating well and feeling more comfortable. Takes time and patience! In the meantime, we try to make him comfortable, give him the space to begin to understand that he is safe and well taken care of.