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Old 03-12-2020, 02:46 AM
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An awesome gift came my way

I have an incredible story to tell how God has blessed me and brought me joy in a time of sorrow. I have been a “bird person” now for 19 years when my family doctor gave me “Doogie” my Catalina hybrid macaw. Two years later I was given 20 year old Blue and Gold; Kayko and six months after that I bought a Scarlet Macaw Clifford.
I met a man I’ll just call David C. at a bird club who had many birds. He gave lectures on native American culture, although he himself was not native-American. He has the unusual occupation of being a feather broker and he makes ceremonial native- American attire from feathers. He used to breed and sell all manner of baby birds; especially macaws until his father died which helped him care for all his birds. The day he died I was asked if I would feed his huge flock while he was attending his father’s funeral. I recruited a neighbor to assist me as we pulled a little red wagon from cage to cage from 9AM until 3PM. I took this opportunity to take inventory of his birds which numbered 112, 55 of which were breeder macaws.
Two years ago I helped him build a bunch of cages as he acquired some 35 birds from a man in Ohio who was retiring to St. Petersburg FL In the mix was two triton cockatoos who were claimed to be part of the seven used by animal trainer Ray Berwick in the production of the TV series Baretta. We were led to believe watching the series back in the early 70’s that there was just one cockatoo named Fred. Actually there were at least 7 that had supporting roles as different birds were trained to do different things. The main bird was La-la who was considerably older and passed away at the age of 70, but in the series he was called Fred.
David needs colored feathers and is not really breeding his birds. Some of his birds are plucked and not really pretty and as breeders they are not socialized, but a plucked hen can be a very good mother and make babies just as well. My wife passed away 13 days ago after complications from knee replacement surgery. I stopped in to talk with David yesterday and helped him feed his flock for a good part of the day. He felt my pain of losing my wife and brought me incredible joy by GIVING me this 49 year old Triton Cockatoo that is possibly one of the most famous birds in the world. He has not been handled for some time, but unlike his breeders seems to remember his past socialization. There are a lot of birds out there that they are claiming to be Baretta birds but some are Sulphur Crested Cockatoos not the Tritons that Berwick used. A Triton has a blue ring around it’s eye. I have owned only macaws so working with a Cockatoo is a new experience for me, and a challenge I will readily accept as I continue to grieve the loss of my wife.
Several months back I was given this incredible hand-made one off bird cage made of curved bars and I painted copper. It is truly a work of art. I always wondered why God gave it to me…now I know. I will post a pic of my bird I will call “Snowflake” (better pictures not taken through the bars will follow in days to come) and a pic of his beautiful cage.
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An awesome gift came my way-triton.jpg   An awesome gift came my way-cage2.jpg  
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:26 AM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

A lovely story. Look forward to more pics.

I am sorry for your loss.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:10 AM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

Wow! I must admit, when I started reading this story, i was preparing to hear that you had lost one of your birds, but your wife? I have no words. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't begin to imagine.

After that, what an amazing gift! A "Beretta bird." That's one of the reasons birds fascinated me way back when. Something about them just clicked, and now here I am, years later, a bird guy. Obviously, this gift won't take away the grief of losing your wife, but they definitely have a way of occupying one's mind, and some distraction with something good couldn't hurt. I wish you and your flock all the best.

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Old 03-12-2020, 09:57 PM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

My wife of 33 years was barely able to walk and after months of 'jumping though all the hoops' of checkouts prior to knee replacement surgery went for the surgery. The doc said the X-rays did not show all the damage inside. I was falsely led to believe recovery would be swift, but instead she was in great pain and did not do her required physical therapy. A blood clot developed and traveled to her heart taking her.

I'm letting the new Cockatoo settle in undisturbed. Oddly he will let you pet his belly through the cage bars and rub his feet where my macaws wouldn't have allowed this at this stage. He has been saying "Cracker?" like he is asking to offer it to you and today I heard a "Pretty Bird" and two "Hellos" plus plenty of long rambling I can't yet understand. He likes opening up large walnuts. Tomorrow at noon my husband/wife bird trimming team will come to the house for the macaw trims. Snowflake could use a toenail trim, but I will not stress him with that at this time.

I want to take a picture with him as you do not get the perspective as to how big he really is. He is bigger than my Blue & Gold macaw

Last edited by Alwese; 03-12-2020 at 10:10 PM. Reason: add more
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Old 03-13-2020, 07:17 AM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

Lovely story ( except for the passing of your wife - that is simply tragic ).

While the cage is truly a work of art, homeowner type paints can not stand up to strong beaks, especially large parrots like your 'too. They can chip the paint and possibly ingest some, and even lead free paints are not good. Please consider having the cage professionally stripped and powder coated by a reputable coating company. Powder coating is what what the vast majority of steel cages are sold with, and it will hold up for years and years. It is extremely durable. The cage is worth the expense and your cockatoo certainly is.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:10 AM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

Very excited to see pictures of your new guy. I know tritons are big, but like you said, you don't quite get it without some frame of reference. I consider my YNA big at 650g when compared to my Ekkie at 420, but I think they would look like little budgies next to a too of that size!

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Old 03-13-2020, 10:03 AM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

Huge, Warm Amazon Feather Hugs My Friend!!!

There clearly has been a plan in place and it is unfolding before your very eyes.

Such surgeries have a very good recovery rate, but there can be serious problems when things go wrong. Especially, when it is the loss of your dear loving wife, your life long friend and mate....

How wonderful that God knew you would need help and from one that equally needs help. What a gift you have been provided to comfort you, as you comfort this new arrival.

Set a comfortable chair next to your Too and take this time to share your devotions with this needy new family member. Reading to him will bring both of you comfort.

Please remember that our Parrots rapidly connect with our emotions and your newest member is likely wanting to be of help in comforting you... Be open to his want to be with you...
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:38 AM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

My deepest condolences for the loss of your wife. You have indeed received a much needed boost of joy with Snowflake and magnificent cage. Cockatoos are rather different from macaws, please let us know if you need advice!

Small side story about Ray Berwick. He founded a beloved bird show at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Some time after his passing his widow sold the rights to long term employees who continued the production using the Berwick name. They eventually branched out to create "Lorikeet Landings" across the globe. I knew one of the animal trainers/performers, sadly the show terminated in 2005 while the interactive lorikeet displays remain.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:12 PM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

OK folks, today the bird trim people came for my macaws and we DID trim my 'Too's long toenails. After they were done he just sat on Robert's arm for a minute and did not try to jump off or bite him. Right now his cage door is wide open, but he is not trying to get out. With the door open I took this picture of him. If you click on the thumbnails they will appear much larger. To get the proper perspective, here is a pic of Robert Blake (actor playing Baretta on the TV series 1973-1976) with the main Triton Cockatoo that was used in the series called Fred, but whose real name was La-la. This bird was much older and died at the age of 70. Snowflake is the same size.
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An awesome gift came my way-snowflake.jpg   An awesome gift came my way-robert_blake_baretta_and_fred_1976.jpg  

Last edited by Alwese; 03-14-2020 at 12:09 AM. Reason: add picture and text
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:01 PM
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Re: An awesome gift came my way

Today I had 'Flake on my arm for the first time; no biting, but he was really nervous and jumped off twice. I found I could have the cage door wide open for an hour and he wouldn't try to come out. When I finally looked over he was on the diningroom floor headed for the kitchen. I can see in the future he is going to be just fine.
I looked a little deeper into learning about his initial trainer Ray Berwick. Ray died in 1990 at the age of 76 so I can't ask him. I was unaware HE was the bird trainer in 1963 for Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds" and was especially talented working with sea gulls and crows. He even wrote a book "How to Train Your Cat".
My macaws like ice cream, so I took my Scarlet & B&G to Freshfield Farms for some today and put Kayko on the arms of several children there for pictures. They actually shut the place down for 2 hours this afternoon so the whole staff could help resupply the meat that was exhausted in a run because of the Corona virus.
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