Thursday AM update. No new reports yesterday. I took Piper flying at the bay for a couple hours, to get him some much needed exercise and see if Carly might join him if she was nearby. He got in some nice long flies, played in the trees & enjoyed the sunshine. Then flew home. We hung out in the garden until sunset while I watered and pruned. He’s been extremely alert to the wild parrot sounds and any kind of whistling he hears. Freezes in his tracks and listens.
I did get 3 or 4 calls while he was flying yesterday. A test of the emergency alert system — it works!
It’s been sad to see him react to his only bird flock-mate and pal being missing. I can really see how much behavior is related to “the flock” (me and Carly) being present and OK. My dear neighbor Sylvia whistles with him when he’s on the patio and I’m away, which I’m sure makes him feel a bit more connected (or at least entertained!)
There was a short spell of disinterest in food and extreme quiet, but aside from that the biggest difference I’ve noticed is in general activity level. He’s typically always on the go, playing with toys, getting into anything and everything, and it appears very independent. But it’s independent within the context of a group or pair. I keep thinking about how parrots in wild flocks are active and noisy when everything is OK, and still and quiet when there’s danger. Noisy = all clear, quiet = caution. It must feel really strange to not have the usual “all clear” activity around him. I’m doing a lot more talking when I’m home, and making contact calls of some sort when I’m not in direct sight.
But it’s also been interesting to get to know him better as a “solo” bird. He’s always been one of a pair before, and they interact quite a lot. Though Carly would probably consider “interact” a bit of a euphemism sometimes; he’s fond of pinning her foot to the perch with his so he can “interact” and play when she isn’t interested. It’s kind of a cross between childhood friends and an old married couple. And he’s been trying to mate with her since he was barely 2 years old. He’s 6 now, and has made little progress in figuring out the correct mechanics of parrot yada yada. They sleep on separate perches in different parts of the room, sometimes even separate rooms. When people ask if they are mates, I usually describe it as “they have sex but don’t sleep together.”
Now I’m seeing him as I knew Carly before he arrived. She was 4 years old and he came at 4 months — hand delivered by “mom” Wendy Craig (http://www.wendysparrots.com) on a visit to fly the beach with Samantha, her Red-fronted Macaw. So I never had the intense one-on-one with Piper that I did with Carly — from our first, unexpected THIS IS *MY* BIRD encounter when she was a baby at the store, all through a long mutual training journey.
An odd time. I don’t know what I’ll find when I catch up with her. Who is this other bird? Wild? Former pet? Will she be willing to leave? Will he — or she — be willing to come with us? (I’ve seen some extremely strong same-sex bonding in parrots too.) What if there’s an owner who can be found? Separate them? Play dates? Will she be able to fly outside any more (unlikely if there’s a mate somewhere in the area). Will she be miserable left behind when Piper is out flying (most certainly yes, unless she has another buddy at home.) I’m quite prepared for her to not even come to me.
Or is this just a friendship of convenience? We don’t know for sure if there has been a single companion or two. Two good sightings — one over several days — had a Grey companion. Recent ones have seen a green (wild Amazon?) companion, including the close-up & reliable observation at PB lifeguard tower. The grey parrot missing before her was found dead about a week after Carly went missing. Was she hanging with him, and now with someone else? (Would certainly fit the “Carly the Tart” we all know. )
Lots of questions. One evening at sunset, July 3, I was so dead tired from searching I was almost hoping she wouldn’t appear then. I just didn’t have the energy to deal with an “other bird” situation.
So, um, thank you Carly for giving me time to think? I’m good now — we can deal with this. Pop on down here!