Thursday, September 25, 2008

California Living

Janka and her littermate, Klaus, romping at Coronado Beach in San Diego.
(photo credit: E. Vogel)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kissed By The Sun

Citron-crested cockatoos have to be one of the most stunning animals in the natural world. Mother Nature created Citrons so she could enjoy simple beauty and pure joy on Her days off.

I love the splashes of rich creamsicle complementing her pure whiteness. I admire the subtle butter yellow on her belly, under her wings and tail. I find myself melting, looking into those expressive amber eyes.

Shalom is my Sun baby, her coloration mirroring that of our life-giving star. Her personality as warm and sunny as the cheerful shade of her crest and cheek patches. There is not one mean bone in her body, everything about her exudes joyful love and happiness.

I am incredibly blessed with her companionship, deeply fulfilled by our relationship.

It is not about giving in to my desires as an animal lover, and ticking off every creature I have ever wanted on my list. Sure, I would love to enrich my life with animals. However I realize that there is always the right time, and the right time may not be the present. I also know that my current companions come first, and they should never have to suffer on the account of my selfish wants.

Is it possible to expand my flock now? Sure. But it would not be fair. Unfair to whom? To my current animals, to the new animal, to my husband, and last but not least, to me. I will not accept such a heavy responsibility unless I know I can give each and every companion nothing less than 100%.

So I channel that passion into my one little parrot for now; creating a surrogate flock with her, to raise her to be a wonderful, stable, secure companion. To ensure her happiness, to ensure her pet potential if she outlives me.

Because in the end, that is the most important gift of all we could ever bestow to our animals ...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Mother's Tenderness

I will watch over you,
My little one,
And be your imperfect Guardian Angel.
Your joys will be my celebration,
Your sorrow will burden my heart.
Through it all,
I will watch over you
With the unconditional tenderness and love
Of a Mother.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Still The Baby In The Family

Janka @ 10 months old
For now.

For the last few years, I have been seriously considering another parrot when we are ready. A Red-fronted macaw or the Blue-throated macaw. At one time, the stipulation set by my husband was "either a macaw or a German Shepherd, you choose." And I decided on a German Shepherd.

Recently I began the serious process of searching for breeders and interviewing them in hopes of expanding my flock next autumn. I had not been impressed with the local parrot stores in San Diego, and decided to look further. I eventually decided on Avalon Aviary in Colorado.

They breed both species of macaws, and after a series of correspondence, have requested to be placed on a waiting list for both. They have surpassed my stringent list of questions from maintaining their breeder birds to bio-security, right down to prepping the fledglings for air travel. In turn, they carefully screen all potential buyers which is a crucial factor for me when buying a live animal.

It is time-consuming and anxious. It took me months to settle upon Shalom's breeder, and I screened several German Shepherd kennels in California and Arizona before deciding upon Janka's breeder.

The effort and pain-staking patience reward me with healthy, socialized companions for years to come, and the inner peace of knowing I voted ethically with my money.

And in a society where breeding animals is treated as profitable, expendable money-makers and the offspring are viewed as commodities, I am glad for personal choice and doing my part in supporting ethical breeders for the betterment of our fellow creatures.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Breaking Sonic Boom

My sweet angelic little Citron hen. Haven't you heard? Looks can be deceiving.

Lately, she has been quite determined to break the sound barrier. And let me say she is quite close to achieving that goal. I admire her ambition, detest her determination. And it is not just a blast of ear-drum piercing shriek. She carries on long, obnoxious monologues where no interruption can faze her. All at the same decibel level, without any pause for breath or thought.

If we didn't have skulls, the sound waves would have caused a massive cerebral explosion. It is so loud, I can only describe it as blinding. And just how far does it travel? I have heard her yodeling away while walking Janka in the park. The park! It is down the path from our apartment, and across the road. Above the traffic din, serenading birds, human chatter and the bubbling pond, there it is ... the pervasive melody of an irate, nagging parrot scolding nobody in particular.

In suicidal hopelessness, Bryan asked what was the best course of action. My succinct reply? "Ear plugs, buddy." A set of earplugs for us, as well as the neighbours.