I'm amazed, year after year, at my parrot Marco's resilience. For a tiny little version of an Eclectus parrot, he's a tough guy.
Did I ever tell you the story of Marco's beginnings? A parrot breeder friend of mine named Ben used to have a couple of breeding pairs of Eclectus. He went to clean nest boxes one day and found a (surprise) newly hatched chick that hadn't been taken care of by its parents. It looked dead. Ben went to find a receptacle to put the tiny body in, but lo and behold, when he picked it up, it squirmed in his hand. It was alive! Barely. The mother and father showed zero interest in it (who knows why) so he had to hand feed it from day 1. For those of you (probably most of you) unfamiliar with baby parrot handfeeding practice, let me just say that it's an intense, unrelenting, round-the-clock endeavor with a newly hatched baby. It was a tiny miracle it survived. Ben's wife Frankie, a devout Catholic, started calling him "Jude" after the patron saint of lost causes. The bird grew up to have a stunted size (just over half the size of a "normal" male Eclectus) and a chronically runny nose that no vets were able to diagnose.
That was, obviously, Marco. I renamed him a strong sounding name when Ben gave him to me. "Jude" sounded just too sad! Ben knew I was an experienced bird handler (from my aviary manager days) and would give the bird a good home. Plus, he was eager to get rid of a bird who looked sick, as he didn't want potential buyers seeing a bird with a runny nose. Since then, Marco has grown into an almost 13 year old bird with all the personality of a full size Eclectus, as my regular readers well know!
When Marco got sick last week, I was scared to death. As prey animals, they've evolved to hide signs of illness until they just can't anymore. A sick or weak bird is a target for predators. By the time bird owners realize how sick their birds are, it's often too late. When I saw Marco acting quiet, listless, with little appetite and runny eyes, I remembered how a Quaker parrot we used to own (pre blog days) named Cheeko looked like that one day, and was dead on the bottom of his cage the next morning.
I'm happy to report, however, that once again Marco has beaten the odds and resisted getting sick! After a few days of giving him warmer house temperatures, steam baths, tempting foods, UV light via the back porch, he's back to his old rowdy self again. Bright eyed and bushy-tailed!
|In his cage tonight after a long day of hell-raising.|
Thanks for all the good thoughts and well wishes for my little tough guy!