I’ve had my share of pets throughout the years: dogs, cats, a hamster, horned toads, turtles, parakeets, and two parrots. The parrots, Jess, and Aldo, have been with my wife and I the longest. It’s going on forty years. Out of all our pets, these guys are up there in the intelligence department.
We, or I should say I, came by Aldo after a visit to a pet store. I was looking at birds with a friend, Jeff Thimsen, when a lady customer walked up asking if I was interested in a parrot. I told her I’d have to see it.
Jeff and I decided to stop by the gal’s place on our way home. Aldo is a Red-lored Amazon parrot of medium size. He seemed to immediately take to me. The woman placed Aldo on my shoulder and the parrot sat there perfectly content. Six hundred dollars later the accomplished actor was in a cage on the way to my place. Evidently Aldo wanted out of her home quite badly as he no shed tears.
Once inside the door, I showed Joleen how docile the guy was. I sat him on my right shoulder, and he immediately pierced the lower lobe. Blood flowed and I shrieked as he wouldn’t let go.
My wife was able to rescue the angry bird before I could get my hands on him. Since that day he’s been hers and hers alone. He’ll let me feed and clean his cage but that’s it. If I try to hold him, he instantly goes into angry bird mode. I’ve been pinched enough times to no longer attempt such. Whenever Aldo has to venture out of his pen, I use a long wood pole or have Joleen do it.
Jess is strictly my pet. He’s a Yellow Nape Amazon also of medium size. I came by Jess after my pal could no longer keep the guy. Jeff’s wife developed bad asthma being exposed to his parrot dander. Some folks are that way.
Jess will chase Joleen if placed on the floor. It’s quite comical. She knows enough to not place tender fingers inside his domain. We warn visitors not to do the same. He’s also quite the talker. One of Jess’s favorite lines is,
I taught him that. It’s especially funny when Joleen walks by his cage and he attempts to scurry over and bite her while reciting that line. It’s amusing to me but not to her.
Aldo is a bird of few words. He’s only been able to mimic one since we got him. On occasion he’ll utter,
Jess on the other hand has a full vocabulary. Some of the things coming out of his beak came from when Jeff and Laura owned him.
“Tired bird. Ready to go nighty night!”
“I live at 9940 Springhill Drive”. That’s where they lived in Alaska.
Jeff told me that someone taught Jess “Aloha” while they were on vacation in Hawaii. He says it all the time.
“Hello Jeffie!” That’s what he calls me. I’m glad he doesn’t use “Mikey” like some of my friends do.
“Laura!” Jess calls Joleen that and she always corrects him by saying, “I’m not Laura, I’m Jo Jo!” For close to forty years the two have been going back and forth.
Jess is smart enough to sing. His favorite tune is,
“You are my Sunshine.”
He especially likes to emphasize the lyrics,
“When skies are gray.”
Evidently he’s referring to Alaska weather as skies are rarely gray in Arizona.
When Jess mimics our children’s names, Gunnar and Miranda, it comes out,
“Gunna” – “Man-dah.”
I started coughing one morning because of a cold. Jess quickly picked up on it. That was several years ago and he’s still mocking me. I generally ask in return, “Have you taken up smoking again?” So far, no reply.
There’s a good possibility these guys will outlive us. Some parrots hang in there ’til eighty. At that point, Joleen and I will be well past the century mark.
I’m not sure what’ll happen then. We’ve talked about finding them a new home with younger owners. Soon after that discussion it seems Aldo picked up on Jess’s cough. My wife believes it’s a cleverly hatched plan between the two of them.
How likely is it for anyone to want these guys if they begin hacking in unison? Not only can they be bad birds, but they’re very clever as well!