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Old 10-29-2016, 09:56 PM
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Kiwi's story

I will try not to drag this on too long, but here's the tale of how Kiwi came into our lives Many of you don't know this, but I had come this close to putting a deposit on an baby male eclectus from a breeder. But once I found out there were just so many parrots up for adoption and being passed from home to home, I knew I had to adopt a bird in need instead. The first shelter I contacted told me I was too young to adopt a parrot (I was a legal adult). So I contacted another shelter, who was willing to work with me. They had many large macaws and cockatoos they were eager to see find a home, but after much soul searching and considering all the various med-large birds, I decided it could only be an amazon. They had no amazons at that time but put me on a list to call when one came up. Just a few weeks before Christmas, I get a call one Friday afternoon. Someone way up north wanted to get rid of a blue front. We got a "bird isn't happy, bird doesn't like women, we got the bird from someone else because he was problematic etc..." type info, but being the first amazon to come up, we made plans to drive up the very next day not really expecting to take this bird.

Woke up Saturday morning, a couple inches of snow on the ground almost said no, it's a sign, but decided to drive up anyways. 2- 2 1/2 hour drive takes 4, ice rink roads and wondering the whole drive up why we were even bothering. Arrive at the home and there is this frustrated creature looking every bit a broken bird. All notions of thinking about it over lunch or possibly driving back up after thinking about it flies out window. This bird was coming home with me now. Pay for him and load him up, dreading the ride home (will he get carsick, freak out, be scared???). Drive home was uneventful, bird in fact seemed kind of excited about the drive and the roads were better by that point so it didn't take as long. Get bird inside and have to entice him out of the carrier into his new cage with food because bird lunges at our hands and is unsure about going into the much larger cage. Being tired and not wanting to cook, I make some mac-n-cheese for dinner. Offer bird a macaroni (hey, maybe he'll be my friend if I give him food, right?). Nope. As I bandage my finger, bird proceeds to eat macaroni while making happy noises, apparently quite smug about what he'd just done. Find bird does not want to eat anything BUT macaronis and won't eat his food. It's at this point it hits me this bird is going to be a problem, but I push it out my mind and reassure myself that "oh, this little fella just needed a little bit of TLC and by Christmas he's going to be my new best friend"!

He immediately needed to go on antibiotics, but once he was feeling better THEN it was no longer ignorable- this bird was a nightmare. A screaming, biting, angry nightmare with no concept of basic commands, who did not want to eat anything but junk food and was at the heigh of puberty. It was also becoming apparent by this time he had an especial hatred towards me, but was becoming somewhat less aggressive towards my husband. However, I had brought him home and I made a firm decision this bird would not be passed on to any further homes.

I could write a book about my experience with this bird, but to be succinct, Kiwi was a tough nut to crack and he bit for maximum damage as often as possible. It really boiled down to a power of will battle. By a year, he could be handled on a stick or with gloves, sometimes. By 2 years he still got on the stick and I was still wearing gloves a lot, but he was starting to bite less and stepping onto my bare hand (and pretty exclusively stepping to husband on bare hand). He started to respond to other training as well by about 2 1/2 years in and was becoming more includable in daily life. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th year we had him, we finally broke down and consulted with the vet to get the bird to start eating healthy foods. It is an ongoing battle to this day with strict feeding routines and even adjusting our meal times around his, though he's found a few healthy items he genuinely likes.

It has only been in the past few years he has been allowed on shoulders, taken into public or allowed to be being free-roaming all day. He has earned those privileges. He has not bit hard enough to draw blood in a couple years. He now preens our faces and gives kisses. He effectively communicates with body language and responds to our verbs cues. I have never been able to figure out if we were just terrible parrot trainers in practice or if he was an especially difficult parrot. I know virtually nothing about his 2 known prior homes, but what I do know is at least 2 homes blew their opportunity at having one of the most bonded, loving, entertaining, well behaved and intelligent parrots I have ever come across. I will never regret giving him a real chance, he is an outstanding bird and continues to thrive and surprise us all the time.
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Last edited by Kiwibird; 10-29-2016 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 10-29-2016, 10:10 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

April, what a completely inspiring story that will give hope to so many people dealing with a bird with issues. Bless you for giving Kiwi a chance to be who he was always meant to be. Your patience and perseverance paid off with incredible rewards for all three of you.
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:03 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

April and Kiwi, thank you for this heartwarming story! I'm not sure who to be happier for, the three of you, obviously. Your choice to adopt an older bird and your commitment from day one is truly inspiring. The truth is, with rehomes, results seldom come easily or instantly but the rewards are well worth the effort, you and Kiwi are living proof.
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:24 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

April, thank-you for providing insight into Kiwi's life! That amazing 2.5 year point is so very common and the long additional years after for everything to come together. I know what it feels like when fellow Parrot people talk about their rapidly opening relationship and we sit with an Amazon that is just showing limited Trust after a year plus of daily effort.

I have always believed that Amazon's choose when. Those that have little to no reason to ever Trust a Human again want too Trust, but the Human has to prove themselves worthy. Years into the effort, that day comes more as a sweet surprise much like a Warm Spring day after a very long and cold Winter.

One of the greatest fears in presenting Oliver's Story first was his rapid opening and bonding could be seen as the norm.

Again, thank-you for providing Kiwi's story! Being Owned By An Amazon is so worth it. Especially, an Amazon that has with great caution open His Heart.
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Old 10-30-2016, 11:01 AM
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Re: Kiwi's story

It takes a special heart to persevere with a headstrong Amazon! Congratulations to you and Kiwi for overcoming a lengthy hurdle to a blissful life!!
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Old 10-31-2016, 02:48 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww...
I had NO IDEA that Kiwi would have a back-story like that.
I just assumed Kiwi had always been a happy, healthy companion, I really did.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:57 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

Good tale. My commendations. Lucky bird, lucky you.
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Old 11-01-2016, 01:37 AM
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Re: Kiwi's story

I always see you and Kiwi as an inspiration. Sometimes things take years. Especially exotic animals that need behavior modification. You've stuck with it consistently, and have done such an outstanding job April.
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:20 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

I've heard Kiwi's story before, but I'm always moved whenever I "hear" it again. I have used your story as an example from time to time because it truly demonstrates what love, patience and perseverance can accomplish with an aggressive bird.

Thank you for sharing, April.
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:40 PM
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Re: Kiwi's story

I hate reading that it can take so long to bond with a parrot. And I love reading that even the worst seeming cases can become fairy tales. Every story like this helps me get through one more day with a troubled rescue bird and reminds me of the beautiful heart inside the ruffled feathers. Thank you.
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