On March 19th, 2022 we drove Sweet Pea 5 hours and 22 minutes away, to a small, rural town called Potosi, MO., to be adopted.
|Sweet Pea enjoying the ride|
I had envisioned something very different for her. When we took her in (Dec.), I was set on eventually finding her a home in sunny S. Florida. -She's an exotic bird, and I would envision her in a grand outdoor aviary, under a large fruit tree, in a tropical paradise of a yard. -This is what I had most-wanted for her.
And I did request help promoting her for adoption with some of my S. Florida friends, in hopes of making my vision for her a reality.
|Image of parrot in nice, outdoor area, image from |
However, no one reached out about her from that strategic networking. -There was one woman in Port St. Lucie, Fl. that wanted her, however upon some basic examination of her life (via social media), I discovered she was a busy mother to a few kids, an owner of 6 Rottweilers, and apparently an owner, or part owner, of R-------- Rottweilers (omitting complete business name for her privacy's sake) Despite the ideal climate of St. Lucie, and this lady seeming to be a lovely person, I felt this wasn't going to be the right fit for Sweet Pea.
The 'right fit' for a macaw is in the rainforest, with a flock of birds, foraging and socializing pretty much all day.
However, since some humans decided to introduce these birds into their homes as pets several decades ago (via taking them from the wild)… we now have macaws that cannot go back into the wild, like Sweet Pea, that they need human-homes. -And they need rescue.
|Sweet Pea always loved seeing me do my makeup!|
I had several individuals reach out about Sweet Pea via her Petfinder depiction. -But the ones that wanted her had never had a macaw. Interestingly, several mothers with teen daughters, and a couple of other young adult women, fascinated with exotic bird ownership, truly wanted to adopt Sweet Pea and give her a good home.
One family here locally even wanted her, another in Cincinnati... there were people that wanted Sweet Pea that were far closer to us than Potosi, Missouri!
But I knew these individuals had no idea of what they would be getting into with a big exotic bird in the home.
-Young kids, you're out:
Sweet Pea would sometimes snap at our 8 year old if he walked too closely to her cage. She was also terribly jealous of him, and would scream very loudly, angrily, when I'd hug him or interact with him a lot in her presence.
|They can get angry, and they bite hard|
-Young adult, you're out:
I compare these birds, lovingly, to kids with a maturity level of a 3 year old, that never really grow up. And they have a lot in common with kids with autism (I know because I'm a substitute teacher, and do sub in ECE rooms some).
They are very sensitive to new people, places, sounds, arguments, you name it. And they can be explosive, highly-reactive to some stimuli. Now there are exceptional young people, like Mikey the Macaw's owners (Young YouTubers w Macaws) that are willing to turn their lives upside down to accommodate a macaw, but most young people are not going to be able to do that, especially for the long term.
-Work outside of the home, you're probably out:
These birds are highly-social, highly-intelligent animals (yes, they are smarter than dogs). They cannot be expected to be home alone for many hours a day. If someone has a large, safe space with other large birds, then it could possibly work. I still have a lot to learn myself on this, which is one reason I'm attending www.phoenixlanding.org's in-person Parrot Retreat in June... but for now, I firmly believe that if you work outside of the home, and you do not have a nice aviary with other birds, you should not have a macaw.
The few individuals I would've felt comfortable with adopting Sweet Pea, weren't able to take her in.
One couple in Florida had another B&G plucker, and they were clearly excellent bird owners. I reached out to them in hopes they'd consider Sweet Pea. The man was very nice, but said they couldn't take on another bird at this time.
This same kind of scenario played out with a couple of other individuals before the Ames family came along.
So, Who in the World 'Should' Have a Rescue Macaw or Large Exotic Bird?!
Pretty much, no one.
-Really, truly- the grand majority of humans are not cut out for exotic bird ownership. These birds are wild. They haven't been pets (generationally-speaking) for long enough to 'feel' or 'act' domesticated, so we cannot expect that of them. Many, many of them start self mutilating behaviors, like Sweet Pea did when she was just about 2 years old (plucking), in her initial home, and any of this can be EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to stop once it starts.
So... perhaps an over-the-road truck driver could be a good exotic bird dad or mom to a bird that likes to ride. -Sweet Pea adores riding, it's the closest she can get to flying I guess?!
|Larry, an OTR trucker with his Macaw, Muggsy (notice holes in shirt, yes, their claws hurt) Link to video at bottom of blog|
A gay couple, or any couple that wants to have a kid, but cannot for any reason... a big, exotic rescue bird will make you feel like a parent... you'll need to pay a sitter and all if you plan on working!
-My friend Keith told me about a guy riding his skateboard all around South Beach with a blue and gold on his shoulder... this is an ideal owner for a large exotic bird too... basically someone that can devote his or her life to the bird, and integrate the bird into everything he or she does. -Think pirate with bird on shoulder.
-They want to be with you always. Or they need a flock.
This brings me back to why I chose Sweet Pea's new owners:
Leslie, the woman of the family is on disability, and is home virtually all of the time. Darrell, the man of the family is also home a lot, and is what I'd call an expert bird handler. -He's calm, firm and very secure. Most importantly, he loves his feathered flock as if they were his children, as does Ms. Leslie. The couple has twin 13 year old daughters that are kind, humble, don't seem to be on screens all of the time, and that genuinely embrace their feathered-family.
Darrell and Leslie's birds' cages are always open, right up until the family goes to bed, at which time the birds know to go to their cages on command for sleepy time. This is the only time cages are kept closed, at night while they sleep (for security reasons), or if the entire family is out of the home. When the weather's warm enough, the birds are outdoors with the family. Perches and ladders are on the property. Darrell likes taking the parrots on ATV rides too, and all their neighbors know their birds. -Sweet Pea now has 2 blue and gold macaw siblings (one is also a plucker- he started plucking when his former family built a new home, at which time he was surrendered to the Ames family), a cockatoo sibling (that is the most devious of the flock, and majorly-belongs to Ms. Leslie, as in 'don't get too close to her or you'll be bitten, hard!'), a couple of parakeets, and a quaker parrot as her feathered family.
When I was there on Saturday, a friend of Ms. Leslie's was over trying to initiate a Tik-Tok account to start a vlog on the Ames' birds; the Ames themselves aren't big on technology.
This family doesn't have some amazing aviary. And their home is small. But they're excellent bird owners. So this is how Sweet Pea ended up in Potosi, MO.
|Sweet Pea meeting Tessa, who was showing off her 'feathered wings' #SweetPeaAdoption|
P.S. I will write a separate blog in coming days about what I'll most miss about Sweet Pea. I do miss her terribly.
Related links and articles:
https://youtu.be/ILUvl2Zm-c8 Link to YouTube video clip of Larry and Muggsy