Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Bogart and Coconut
We inherited Bogart, then a five year-old red-lored Amazon, in 1992 when my ex-husband moved from Long Island to California and didn't want to drive cross country with the bird (understanding rightly the stress it would put on the bird). He ultimately gave Bogart to us. Despite the bird's name, we found out a year or so ago that Bogart is a female which explains his/her often randy (and funny) antics in the springtime, hoping to do her part to propagate the species.
We purchased Coconut, at the time a six month-old blue and gold Macaw, in Maui when we were there on a company reward trip in 1995. It was our (very expensive) living souvenir from a wonderful all-expenses-paid trip. We loved these birds and have cared for them daily for the past 17 and 13 years, respectively.
Did you know that Amazons live about 70 to 80 years and Macaws live to the ripe age of 40-45? Bogart is now 21 and Coconut is 14. We knew their life spans and their intelligence levels when we adopted both birds. They have the behavior of two year old children and the intelligence of seven year olds. Easily bored. Very bright. Need lots of stimulation, socialization and interaction.
We began to wonder about our future (as in we're not getting any younger) and the birds' futures a couple years ago. Neither daughter and son-in-law couple wants either of them. They may both outlive us (Bogart certainly will, given the right diet and living conditions). So we have been wrestling for many months about what to do with the birds.
Through personal inquiries, we found a young girl who wanted to adopt Bogart and breed her. So we parted with Bogart in August, cage, food and everything. We were hoping to find someone who wanted to buy Coconut so we could recoup a bit of our investment but it's hard to sell a bird. We didn't want him/her (only way to tell the gender is through a blood draw and DNA test) to go to someone we didn't know or weren't sure we could trust to treat him/her well. (There are people out there who deal in birds just as there are puppy farms - and we didn't want to subject Coconut to that kind of inhumane treatment.)
We turned to Paul Lewis of Birds Unlimited, from whom we have been getting our bird supplies for these past 17 years, and have been talking with him about our birds for several months. Today Coconut moved to Paul's store. We're hoping that someone either decides to take Coconut as their pet or that Coconut gets along well with the store's resident Macaw, Simon, and has a long and happy life living in the store.
The house will be strangely quiet without Coconut's friendly greetings (Have a good day, What's up with that, What are you doing. Merry Christmas, I love you, and so on) and more frequent screeching. We feel sad and relieved all at the same time. And have a nagging feeling of guilt for taking on a pet and then not being up to the task of honoring our commitment to it (them). Still, we are certain that it's the best thing for Coconut, Bogart and for the two of us. Yet they have been part of the family for such a long time. We will miss them greatly.