Friday, September 17, 2010 By: Suzanne

Felicity Sophia - the happy and wise one

I'm going to spend a little time blogging today. I don't know how much I'll get done but I have loads of books to talk about. However, this one is going to be devoted to my newest baby. As my mother says, I am quickly on my way to being the old lady in the shoe, only my children are animals.

I wasn't planning on another animal and this wasn't an impulse buy but here she is newest love:

I'm not a very good photographer and I was standing under her, so while these show what she looks like, they don't show her personality. This little girl is a handful. I remember Aurora being a handful when she was a puppy (she still is sometimes) but not like this! WOW! It's like I brought a human baby in the house. Except you can't lock a human baby in the cage when you leave or get mad because it's bedtime and she's snippy (the main reason I don't have children! hahahaha). Of course, she'll never take away the crown from the Queen of bedtime snippiness: Lucina. The only difference is her beak is much bigger! She didn't draw blood last night, I don't think she would have unless I pushed the issue, but she sure did bite me. "What did you do to this beautiful creature?" I hear you wondering. I tried to cuddle. I swear. She loves to cuddle, most times. But it was 9:15 and obviously that is past bedtime. I was late getting to cleaning last night and she was on top of the cage playing with toys (or destroying with amazing ferocity, I should say) while I cleaned and got them ready for night-night. I picked her up to cuddle a little before covering them for the night. She reached toward me like she was gonna give me kisses (she gives the sweetest kisses) and bit the fire out of lip, then turned and did the same to my hand. Little bitch. In you go. hahahaha. Certainly not happy at night time and obviously all wisdom on my part has gone out the window. I'm lucky she's not a Cockatoo or a Macaw. I might have lost my bottom lip.

"What is she?" I hear you asking. She is a Black-Headed Caique (KI-eek). They derive their name from their white breast and belly which has a ruffled looked. A ruffled, white dress shirt is called a caique. They are little birds with large personalities. They are like a large parrot stuck in a small body. However, their small-ness is misleading too. Here's a good comparison. Cockatiels, like my Lucina, tend to be 10-14 inches long. This includes the amazing tail. Lucina was weighed this week and is 110 grams (about average for cockatiels). I haven't measured her because unless I have help, it's impossible but I'm sure she fits in this category. Caiques, like Felicity, tend to be 9-11 inches, but they don't have that extra long tail. So, she kinda looks as if she's the same size as Lucina but get this: Caiques weigh 150-160 grams! That's a huge difference when you're that little. And I can certainly feel it when I pick them up. Her head is also much larger than Lucina's (and therefore a much larger beak). I'm not sure exactly what Felicity weighs, but as a good birdy mom should, I'll be getting a scale soon. I'm trying to figure out how I can rig a perch on a kitchen scale because birdy scales are seriously overpriced. 

"So how did you come by your newest bundle of joy?" Well, like I said, I wasn't planning on getting another bird just yet. I had thought for awhile that I would love to have another, but I had been thinking of a Green Cheeked Conure. I loved my conure and have wanted another one for a long time, but parrots are expensive. I didn't really want another cockatiel. As much as I love Lucina, and she apparently only has eyes for me (seriously dislikes everyone else - except an unnamed person she hasn't seen in awhile, apparently we both have bad taste in men) I wanted a bird I could interact with more. Lucina is not much for playing. She just wants to cuddle and explore. So my bestest friend, whom I call sister, Andrea decided this past spring that she was going to get a bird, only she's not really a bird person. She did tons of research to determine the type of bird that might be best for her and came up with a Black Headed Caique. Then she found a wonderful breeder who sent weekly updates with pictures after the birds hatched. She also sent pics to me to show how the birds were growing. I don't have them all because at the time I thought this was going to be Andrea's baby, and while I loved living vicariously through her and seeing the babies grow up, I didn't save all the pics. I have found a few though that are apparently still in my inbox. Here's the first baby picture:

Ok, if you're not a bird person (and so few of us are) then I know what you're thinking, "OMG what an ugly creature!" They don't have feathers yet and so little of the down, and apparently her sibling there is so young he can't even hold his head up! Felicity is the older one. I love this picture. One, because I think they are adorable and two, because they look like little baby dinosaurs. It really gives credence to the theory that birds descended from dinosaurs. 

I must have deleted the next few because the next I have is a month later:

You see how slowly they develop? This is similar to how the larger parrots develop. Most other birds their size would be close to weening by this time. Lucina was only about 1 1/2 - 2 months old when I brought her home. 

And here they are again a week later:

Personally, I'm starting to think there's something wrong with that other baby. Why is he never standing up straight? I'm glad Andrea got the one she did. Although, maybe the pictures are misleading. Maybe Felicity pushed him down so she could be the star!

I'll stop boring everyone with parrot baby pictures and get on with the story. 

So once Felicity is weened, Andrea and her husband head down to Houston to pick her up. That's about a 5-6 hour drive one way. They go down and back without stopping except to pick her up. 2 days later the bird is mine. :) Andrea has discovered she is truly not a bird person. Poor thing, I feel bad for her. She knows this is a wonderful bird but for some reason can't make herself look past the mess and scaliness and all out birdiness of a bird. She tells me if I don't want this bird it's going back to the breeder. Wait, I can HAVE the bird? Because I certainly don't have the money to buy one and she's adorable and wants so bad to play and cuddle in my hair. And I get this amazing cage with a divider that both birds can live in? Sold! My first thought is, maybe she'll teach Lucina to eat real food. hahahahaha. Lucina was not raised by a good breeder. I got her from a local pet store. While I don't normally like pet store animals, especially birds, they do hand feed their birds at this store which is so important for good pet birds. In the 6 1/2 years since I've gotten Lucina, I have revised my position on this store but at the time I thought they were fairly wonderful. They do hand feed the babies, but once they're weened, they get no human interaction except the customers and they are weened onto seed and millet!! That is the WORST diet for a bird. It was all I could do to get Lucina to switch to pellets, and I still have a hard time getting her to eat fresh fruit and veggies. Felicity was weened onto a variety of foods and loves veggies and fruit. Within 2 days, Lucina was trying the food I made for Felicity! She still doesn't eat much but at least she's nibbling at it. Of course, I'm crumbling Nutriberries (a mix of flavored pellet, grain, and seed) on top of her bowl. Whatever, I have to do to get her to try it! Then at "family breakfast" on the 3rd day I shot this:

 Felicity is happily munching away at everything in sight, while Lucina is as far she can be without falling off the table, happily ignoring even the food I put directly in front of her. Then, viola! She turns and tries the apple and orange. She appears to like the orange better and a few minutes later I shot this:



fredamans said...

Gorgeous bird! Congratulations on the new addition to the family!