After my husband and I worked from home full-time this past year, I marveled at the changes in our pets. It has been a joy to watch our pets grow and become happier! I’ll feature some of our other pets soon, but today, I want to focus on Hannah.
Hannah has been a problematic rescue, taking many years to unwind and relax. Although Amazon parrots are known to be good speakers, Hannah has a limited vocabulary. I attribute this to the fact that she was a breeder bird rather than a companion for her formative years. The breeder surrendered her after a vicious attack by a newly assigned mate left her terrified of other birds. Hannah worked her way through the rescue system, eventually coming to our house.
She speaks a few words/sounds – a maniacal “hello,” a cat’s meow, a wolf whistle, and an ear-piercing scream. That was about it. We have held space for her for over ten years and watched her loosen up. She and Sugar became friends and they flock together, which we never expected. They are rescues from different owners, are different breeds, different ages (Sugar is about 30 years older than Hannah), and vastly different temperaments. They love to herald the sunrise and sunset, which is typical for parrots and a pastime she and Sugar share. It mainly involves screeching, so it isn’t a habit my husband and I enjoy, but it is common in parrot culture for some breeds.
During this year, with us home more, I have made a concerted effort to greet Hannah with a smile, a kind word, and a scritch every time I entered her room or passed by her cage. This happens far more than before, and I have seen a gradual change in her. She has softened toward me and now anticipates the scritch, lowering her head and moving it so that I scritch all her favorite spots on her head.
Even more exciting – she has learned new sounds! Early on weekend mornings, we can lay in bed and listen to her make contented little noises, much like a pigeon or a chicken. These little clucks come at a time I’d like to roll over and sleep some more, but It’s nonetheless a welcome change to our ears. These are not bird sounds that she has heard from other parrots in our home. We have neither pigeons nor chickens near us, so I wonder how she learned this sound. Somehow, I hope that this sound is natural for her and flows from a feeling of contentment.