A Story of Ransom and Rescue

Choices and life experiences are part of a successful companion parrot lifestyle, for the parrot.

A Story of Ransom and Rescue

Aunalese is an adorable little cinnamon green cheek conure with a bit of a sad story that has a happy ending. She was ransomed from a chain pet store where we often purchased bird supplies for the Greybies. We saw her there in a very tiny, dingy enclosure in July of 2011, where she had remained for several months that we were aware of. Every time I walked by, she would look into my eyes and all I felt was deep sadness. I knew I had to save her. We saw several other yellow-sided green cheeks being sold and replenished but it seemed no one wanted her because of her pale coloration. One day, we walked in and they were on sale, and I told my husband this was a sign: we were meant to buy her. That day, she left the tiny box she was living in and found a new life that included fresh foods, flight and love. 

Because of her isolation, we also got a second green cheek conure to be a “friend,” who turned out to be a male. We named him Conner, and he was very sweet, calm and friendly. After bringing them home, I did research on their band numbers and contacted the bird broker they were purchased through. We had been told upon buying them that they were both "around five and a half months old." The truth was, she was well over a year old (hatched in June of 2010). It was actually only Conner who was five and a half months old. 

It was reported when we got her that she'd escaped in the store several times. At that time her tail feathers were mostly gone, most likely from someone grabbing her by the tail in an attempt to catch her, as birds can drop their tail feathers to escape being caught. She behaved like a wild bird and was extremely terrified of human hands. The bird room then was a large 10’ x 20’ sunroom we’d added to the back of our house and we were worried about her flying into the windows. They assured us they could clip her wings, but obviously did not know what they were doing as the clip not only injured her by cutting into a blood feather, but once we got her home, she flew out of the box like a jet. Thank God she flew very well and didn’t fly into anything. We did take her to a reputable bird dealer to have her wings clipped once until she settled in, but once they grew out and she settled down, she has remained flighted. 

In the early spring of the following year, she and Conner began to mate. He wasn’t even a full year old, and everything I read said they weren’t sexually mature at that age, so I believed the chance of them actually producing babies was slim. We were also told not to worry because they were “hand-fed pets and they won’t know what to do.” Evidently the experts were all wrong, because they hatched and raised three beautiful chicks. We left them in the nest where they were raised naturally, by their parents. We co-parented: I provided love and cuddles every day when I cleaned out the nest box, and the parents fed, loved and taught their babies. They fledged from the nest like they would have in t he wild and have never experienced wing clipping. They are very healthy and well-adjusted little birds and Nava, the first to hatch, is especially sweet. 

We lost Conner to what we believe was a freak accident. He loved to hang, usually by one foot, and swing from the top bars of their cage. One day I came home from work to find him lying on the bottom of the cage, with a tiny spot of blood and head feathers on a perch just below where he liked to dangle. He was a sweet boy and both Auna and mama mourned him for quite some time. We kept all three of our “grandbabies” and they are an adorable little flock. Auna is still shy and skittish, but is very sweet and has become very attached to Daddy, giving him kisses, preening his beard, and following him at every opportunity she gets. 

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