Today starts our week of pet stories. Some stories will be from our regular bloggers. Some will be from friends and writing colleagues. We're keeping it light and funny, so please share your favorite pet story. As the week goes on, there'll be gifts and surprises for the backbloggers, so join in the fun.

I'm starting with Panama, pictured below eating a fresh peach.

Bird Ownership Disclaimer: Owning an Amazon Parrot is a lot like adopting a child. They are very smartt, inquisitive, noisy, and messy. But, they’re also funny, entertaining, and beautiful. It’s their intelligence that gets them (and an unprepared owner) into trouble. They can get easily bored and find new and creative ways to entertain themselves that the owner might not like, like chewing all the wood off the window frame, or throw all the food from the bowl to the floor in a pique of anger.

Never ever buy an Amazon as an impulse buy. And most importantly, buy from a reputable breeder. The way smugglers get baby parrots from the wild from their parents is many times to kill the parents to steal the babies. Parrot smuggling still goes on due to the bird popularity. Buy safe.

He loves fresh fruit and vegetables.

That's peach on his peck. Notice how sharp the beak is. It can do some real damage to the finger of an unsuspecting victim.

Now, about the heathen that rules my house...24 years ago, I married into a parrot-head family. No, not a bunch of Jimmy Buffet lovers, although we do like the music. I married into a family that owned Amazon parrots, two to be exact. My husband, Phil, has Panama and his brother and sister-in-law have Bo. Panama is a Amazona ochrocephala panamensis or Panama Parrot. (Phil lacked imagination when it came to naming his bird, didn’t he?)

Bo is Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata, better known as a Yellow-Nape Parrot. Both of these birds came from breeders and have been part of my husband’s family for their entire lives.

Panama was 6 months old when Phil brought him home. (We call Panama a “him” but we don’t really know. The males and females look alike and it takes a blood test for sexing. Since we aren’t breeders, we didn’t bother.)

When I met Phil, Panama was six years old. He viewed me with scads of skepticism. Who was I and why was I taking up so much of Phil’s time when Phil should be playing with him? Phil tried to make friends of Panama and me, but honestly, I was the interloper and Panama never lets me forget it to this day.

When we were dating, Phil would take Panama from his cage and set the bird in my lap or on my stretched out legs. Then, he would encourage me to pet the bird. Yeah, right. The d*mn bird latched onto my finger and WOULD NOT let go. I slung my finger and Panama just hung on for the ride. Now, he flies at my boobs and tries hang on. No, thank you. (By the way, never let a parrot sit on your shoulder. Their beaks are very strong and they can do some real damage to your face. And yes, we all learned the hard way.

Story – Bo was sitting on Phil’s sister’s shoulder and the doorbell rang. She answered the door and the bird did not like the looks of the person standing there. He grabbed hold of her upper lip and swung to her other shoulder, like he would a vine in the rain forest. She has a nice upper lip scar.)

Panama has learned quite a few words, phrases, and sounds. Luckily (for me), cuss words are not part of his vocabulary. He barks like a dog (faking me out on more than occasion.) In February, we were in Florida at an RV park. The lady in the motorhome next to ours complained to Phil about our two dogs barking so much. It was apparently disturbing her karma, or something. He told her it was our bird, not the dogs. She didn’t believe him until she saw for herself.

Not only can he bark, but apparently, Phil and I had a tendency to tell the dogs to “shut up.” When we lived in Memphis, we scheduled a chimney sweep to come to our house. He came about twenty minutes later than our appointment. He was a tad irritated at us. Seems he came to the house early for the appointment and we wouldn’t answer the door. The conversation went something like this:

“I was here earlier today and neither you nor your wife would answer the door.”

Husband with a frown says, “We weren’t home at that time.”

“Yes, you were,” the chimney sweep insists. “I know you were.”

“No, I’m sorry. But we weren’t.”

“Yes, you were. Every time I knocked on the door, I could hear the dogs start barking and your wife would yell, ‘Shut up. Shut up.’”

Husband. “Come in and meet our bird.”

Yep, Panama was scolding the dogs for barking at the door.

Bo, our “nephew bird”, had to go to the vet to have blood drawn and his nails clipped. Out in the lobby, the other clients were quite upset with all the noise. Seems every time the vet would lean toward Bo without touching him, Bo would yell, “Help! Don’t do that! Ouch! Help!” The folks in the waiting room thought there was a child back there.

Panama is on a special food called Zoopreem. It’s a nutritionally balanced food for parrots. The little nuggets are sort of daisy shaped. Each bag is made up a different colored nuggets, such as purple, red, yellow, orange, brown. When we first started him on it, we noticed that he threw all the purple and orange ones out on the floor. Concerned that they had a vitamin or nutrient that he needed, Phil called the plant. Seems all these nuggets taste exactly the same. No difference. All come from the same machine, just dyed different colors. Seems Panama doesn’t like the color purple (not the movie, people, although who knows. He might have an opinion). Sometimes he likes the oranges and will toss the reds or vise versa.

And his toys! He has scads. We rotate them in and out of his cage to keep him entertained. He loves to sit outside in the sun (in his travel cage – yes, he has more than one cage) and yell as other birds, squirrels or people. We do worry about cats (although we don’t have any around here), but Bo (the nephew bird) lives with a couple of cats. They are scared to death of him. He’ll chase them and try to bite them.

Even though I threaten to make a parrot pie at least once a month, in our household, we ALL know who the boss is (and hint, it isn’t me!)

So anyone else have a cool talking bird story?

Until Next Time



  1. Edie // November 23, 2008 at 11:01 AM  

    Funny stories! I walk our dog and during the summer. One of our neighbors has a heavily wooded lot. When we pass their house, I'll often see their garage door up and a cage with their bird just inside the garage. It reminds me of my cat sitting in the window looking out.

  2. Mary Marvella // November 23, 2008 at 11:20 AM  

    You made me laugh, no small feat when I'm sleep deprived!

  3. sshay // November 23, 2008 at 1:07 PM  

    I didn't know you were a bird owner. We have a cockatiel named Kenny. He barks, meows and wolf whistles.
    My cousin Gary has an African Gray parrot named Trixie. He brought her to the office to visit one, and she landed on my head. I got her to sit on my finger, but after a moment she latched on. Hard! I'd just read that you shouldn't react when a bird bites you, so I just stood there.
    When he finally got bored, I had a little trickle of blood on both sides of my finger.
    She and Gary have a great time together, but she hates Gary's girl friend. The gf reads Trixie books, buys her treat and does all kind of nice things for her. Trixie still goes for the gf's eyes any time she gets a chance.

  4. Caroline // November 23, 2008 at 1:45 PM  

    My daughter, Bea, has two dogs. Findley is older, a sweet and gentle Shih Tzu who has always been perfectly behaved and a gentleman. She decided Findley needed a companion, and let this mixed breed Chihuahua and ?? capture her heart at a PetsMart adoption day. She named him Brendan, after the Irish navigator and saint. A saint he is NOT. Brendan has boundless energy and climbs like a monkey. He is cute, though, and very intelligent.

    Bea was sitting at her computer in her study off the kitchen and heard Brendan crunching on something. When she got up to investigate, he gave her his “Who, me?” innocent look and Findley was asleep on the sofa. She went back to the computer and soon heard “Crunch, crunch, crunch” again. She checked; same thing. On the third time, she caught Brendan with his nose in the cookie jar, so to speak. She had left a large plastic container of Pupcorn dog treats on the table. Brendan had pried the lid open with his teeth to get a treat, but left the lid on so it looked sealed. He had taken one at a time, hopped down and gone to the corner and eaten it before going back for another. Who says dogs can’t reason? Bea’s thankful Brendan doesn’t have opposable thumbs or she’d have to hide the car keys!

  5. Mona Risk // November 23, 2008 at 4:44 PM  

    Your Bo is a riot!!!

    We had a parakeet for nine years. My daughter called him Birdie, trained him to eat from her hand and kept his cage open. He flew around the kitchen and went back to his cage at night. He died a week before she left home for college.

  6. Arkansas Cyndi // November 23, 2008 at 5:46 PM  

    Thanks everyone for visiting. I've been away all day for a writing session in Little Rock. I'll check in when I get home.

  7. Mary Ricksen // November 23, 2008 at 7:39 PM  

    What a witty story. I loved it. Any kind of animal makes me smile. I always thought it might be their innocence, but I'm rethinking that logic.

  8. Anonymous // November 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM  

    Wow, Cindy - cool pet!

    I'm allergic to everything under the sun, so no pets for me, but if I could pick, I'd pick one I could teach. Wouldn't it be great to have the bird tell people to get lost, or stick it, or whatever?


  9. Beth Trissel // November 24, 2008 at 4:00 PM  

    Wonderful parrot tales, Cindi. I laughed so that my niece asked me what was so funny. Amazing bird.