By Don Wheeler

Photo Credits, Don Wheeler

Appeared in March/April 2011 ASA Avicultural Bulletin

Among aviation circles, it is a truism that there are two kinds of pilots.  Those that have landed an airplane with the gear up and those that will.  I've decided that a similar truism exists for parrot owners. 

Every once in a while I work in Merced, CA for an old friend.  This trip was different than ones in the past because my wife, Grace, got called for jury duty, but she didn't check the date until it was too late to change it.  Of course the date was 11/18/08.  Being the honest girl that she is, Grace decided to stay home and send me on my way alone, except for Linus.  The eclectus boys, Gauguin and Pippin, stayed with her.  This was the first time that I was planning on being away from Gauguin since he came to us (with the exception of one weekend nearly two years ago).  We didn't think Linus would handle a week separation without us working up to it.

The drive was generally pleasant.  I chose a route that gave views of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen.  These are very striking volcanoes in Northern California.  Merced is about an hour north of Fresno and 425 miles from Eureka.  Linus and I had a very long drive. 

Aruensis Eclectus, Gauguin, and Linus, African Grey parrot.

We arrived a bit after sundown in twilight.  While checking in I heard the van's alarm sound.  I knew Linus must have done something, so I interrupted completing the paperwork to check on him.  Luckily nothing was wrong.  My best guess is that Linus squawked at a frequency that triggered the alarm for breaking glass.  Anyway, he was quite clingy and stuck to my neck.  Before I go on, I need to mention that last week Linus broke yet another of his flights on his left wing.  As best as I can tell, he has one intact primary likely No. 2 or 3.  He has a stub of No. 5 and maybe numbers 9 and 10 intact.  His right wing is only missing one or two primaries at the most.  >>More

This story is just a bit late.  It should have been written just before Halloween, because it's so frightening!

Copyright © 2011, Susie Christian