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Caiques – regret and fascination!

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

By Tom Marshall

In my book, Why Parrots? Why Aviculture? in Chapter 5, I described a decision I made that I soon regretted. I sold my Black-Headed Caique because he didn’t talk in order to buy an imported African Grey. By chance, the new owners of Pepe, my former pet, invited me over to see him. Claude and his wife raved about Pepe and although they had added a few more avian companions to their household, Pepe reigned supreme in their hearts. However, when Pepe saw me, he stood very erect and began to sway back and forth in a very threatening manner.

Besides disappointment, I experienced another emotion - guilt. Although he had successfully adapted to his new life, I assumed that he must have resented the fact that I had abandoned him. Parrots are sentient beings that have feelings and they do remember, but fortunately, like most Caiques, he was intelligent and adaptable. My current pet Kai, which was given to me as a mature bird, and I have a great relationship. She has the entire bird room at her disposal during the daylight hours and we interact in a bedtime routine before she goes back in her night cage.

Caiques have become very popular as pets, and that fact probably got its start from parrot people meeting Sally Blanchard’s talented “Spikey LeBec”, a Black-headed Caique with attitude, personality and a confident sense of himself. Pet parrot people also learned a lot about parrots from Sally herself, who gave many seminars at American Federation of Aviculture conventions and elsewhere, and she served as a consultant on parrot behaviour as well as a writer for commercial publications, catering to birds. She developed and was the editor of the Pet Bird Report, later known as the Companion Parrot Quarterly, which ran for a number of years by subscription.

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