The day I met a Catalina Macaw was the day I realized I hadn't done all this completely right so long ago. By all this I mean fully acknowledging the truth of companion parrots. I can't tell you why I didn't "get it" until this meeting. I'm empathetic by nature. But I can say that my empathy was more condescending caregiver than unconditional respect. I suppose as a 9 year old girl with my first companion, I can cut myself some slack on that matter.
They named her Animal at the petstore. Maybe that's why a bell rung in my head loud enough to crack open this nugget of truth. Animal. They said she was called that because she was aggressive and loud and they didn't know what else to call her. Animal. I think they called her that because they were lazy, cold and had no idea who she really was, and at the end of that thought; I woke up. To all of it, the whole big emotional possibility picture.
Now at this time I was still working full time. It was too early to start a flock. And too early to campaign for the idea. But I always knew I would want parrot(s) again. After I lost my budgie in high school I knew I would be a parrot lady. When I was a new mom I brought two lovely cockatiels into our family for our children's sake. They were young, both kids and birds, and I was a stay at home mom. Such a lovely flock we all made. And yet I failed to see the greatest potential with these two tiels. I loved them, cared for them and we saw them through to the end, but I missed that last bit of mutual awareness.
The time was near. Almost as near as Animal was at this very moment. With this moment of awareness I realized I needed to completely give into a simple idea. These were child like companions and would require no less the emotional, physical and financial effort.
Animal taught me this in less than 2 minutes. You see, she liked me. She side-stepped on her long viewing perch close to me and she looked straight into my eyes, and leaned in. There I was the first time in my life able to touch a macaw. I petted her head, she leaned in, I petted her cheek, she leaned in. At this most excellent moment of two hearts meeting the counter girl walked over to explain her name to me. And Animal suddenly moved away. Not from me, but from her. Her eyes pinned, her head went down a little and her head feathers fluffed. Animal clearly had no relish for this particular person.
I felt heartache at that moment. I felt the need to grab Animal up, all the necessary items and bring her to our home where she could lean in at any time. Because I knew. And I knew that she knew.
I didn't do that though. At this time we were living in an apartment saving to buy a home of our own. The time was near, but not now. I visited Animal a number of times after that. She and I would be together, and we would enjoy our moment. I later heard the store "gave her back to the breeder", because no one could pay $2500 for a macaw.
Animal was the beginning of FlockCall and I didn't know it then. Animal defined what was wrong with us, and what was right with them.
Years later we bought our home and built our flock and I started FlockCall. Because I know.
And I really truly without fail want everyone to know this truth. Because for some people, bringing this truth home will change their human world. And bringing this truth to the world will give every parrot, everywhere, a happy home.