I have had four exotic birds for five years now, and let me tell you, I wouldn’t give them up for anything. At times I get mad at them because of all the mess they make, but I get over it. Yes they can make a real mess, especially on the floor. You don’t want to have them on carpet. It seems like they don’t do all their dirty business in the cage, it happens to end up on the floor and once it dries, it is like trying to chisel cement off the floor. My one bird, an umbrella cockatoo just loves to throw her food everywhere. I find it on the floor, windowsill and in the bottom of her cage. You got to keep an eye on her. She use to take her food and water bowls out of the bracket and dump them, now we have a c-clamp holding them down tight so she can’t get them out. If you don’t clean out the cage right away, in a couple days the seeds start to grow. Believe me, it happened to me. I went away for a couple days and filled up their food and water bowls to last three days. I came home and found plants growing in my cockatoo’s cage. What a mess. She also figured out how to open her cage and would get out and open the other three cages. I ended up putting a c-clamp on her door too, to keep her in.

She is a real loving bird. I get her out of the cage and hold her close to my chest and rub under her feathers, and she lays her head on my chest and falls asleep. What a sweetheart. There was one time she wasn’t so sweet, that is the time she bit my three quarter diamond out of my ring. Man I grabbed her by the throat and turned her upside down yelling, spit it out now Chloe or I will wring your neck. Out it came bouncing on the floor.

Then there is Rubin, my African Grey. He talks in that deep voice that sounds like a man. He does a lot of talking. His favorite thing to say is, Sebrina, shut up. She is another bird I have. But back to Rubin, that is one bird that drove up crazy for a while until we realize that he mocks every kind of noise. That bird had me running to the clothes dryer, and I wasn’t even doing laundry, the telephone and it wasn’t even ringing and my microwave and I wasn’t cooking anything, He sounds like all of them. He is really good at mimicking sounds. I remember late at night, I was home by myself. I heard a man cough. I froze. It couldn’t be my husband, he was away on a trip and besides the voice was too deep. I was scared to death. Then it hit me, it was the bird. My husband taught him to whistle the Andy Griffin theme song. You should hear him, it sound good and he does an excellent cat call.

Then come Sebrina. Another sweetheart and very talkative. She talks the most and sings. She sings two verses of Singing in the Rain and all of Popeye the Sailor Man and even puts in the toot toots. When I feed her. She always says “Want some breakfast, hmmmmm popcorn. Go out the door and she says, bye bye, see you later alligator. She use to cuss but we broke her of that. I hear I love you and Sebrina, are you momma’s girl, all the time. All you got to do is come out of the bedroom in the morning and she starts to talk and sing. She is very entertaining.

Then comes Sammy our macaw. I can’t say much for the bird other than he favors my husband and I am deathly scared of him. He has a beak that would break you finger if he got it in his mouth. My husband handles him all the time, but let me go near him and he wants to eat me for dinner. I was leaning against his cage while taking care of another bird and he took a hunk out of my shoulder with his beak. That was enough for me. I feed him from outside his cage, if he needs his water changed, which is every day, my husband takes care of that. One thing I can say, he is a very colorful and beautiful bird.

Some exotic birds can live as long as 90 years. They will out live me. The only thing is, who do I will them to? My kids already told me don’t will them to them….. I am sure they were only kidding. My son would take them in a heartbeat. He now owns a cockatoo and loving it to death. A bird is like a dog or cat, you get attached to them and they end up like being like one of the family.

Written by Lenore Chapman