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#260146 - 12/10/16 08:53 AM Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon  
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Atiggerx33 Offline
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What to say? I guess I should begin with Nero's somewhat long history. He was originally taken in by my grandmother some 40-45 years ago. Previous to that he had been owned by one person, but I know nothing of his life before my grandmother. He was abandoned by his first family, they said they were moving and would get in touch as soon as they found a place that accepted parrots, my grandmother took him "temporarily", but they never got back in touch, so he became hers.

He bonded strongly to her, and truly loved her as his human, and she adored him. He didn't much care for any other humans. About 10 years ago now she passed away from cancer related issues. Obviously, this was hard on everyone, including Nero. She had been essentially living in the hospital for the 3 years prior to her death, and Nero was kept locked in a too small cage for most of this time. During this time he would lunge at the bars if you so much as looked at him too closely.

That brings us to 3 years ago (so that's about 10 years cagebound) when my grandfather's house caught fire. Nobody was home at the time, and the wall Nero's cage was in was the one that caught fire. Thankfully the firefighters got there in time to pull him out, but not before the bottom of his plastic cage melted and his feathers had been singed. He was given oxygen and rushed to the emergency vet, where they saved his life, despite that he arrived hacking up a black tar-looking substance.

My grandfather then gave Nero to his son, my uncle, where he was moved to a much larger cage, although still cagebound. My uncle's dog tormented him, and Nero had to be kept isolated for his own safety. It was at this point that I finally got the call to take in Nero. I couldn't say no, he was my grandmother's, she'd roll in her grave if she knew her baby was given to strangers. Plus, I just cared, I'd known him since I was a child and despite his apparent hatred for me when he lived with my grandmother (and hatred of everyone that wasn't my grandmother) I couldn't bear for anything to happen to him. He'd already been through so much, I vowed to give him a home for the rest of his days, however long that may be.

I've had him about 2 years now. His feathers, which were regrowing when I got him, and those he had were oily (uncle says he wasn't grooming), are now beautiful and pleasantly shiny. He has several toys, although he seems to ignore them completely. He gets fresh food daily, and usually some healthy treat like a peach, although occasionally a nibble or 2 of junk food. Most importantly he's never locked in his cage. Ever. He is flighted, a bit clumsy at first due to muscle atrophy I suppose, but better than he was initially. He takes food from my hand like a complete gentleman, he's extremely delicate in that and never tries to bite the hand that feeds him.

Now, for his issues... I believe him to be slightly handphobic. I can get him to step up, finally, but his first reaction is to run to the corner, so it takes some gentle coaxing with food to get him to cooperate. He will not let me pet him in any way, but he will let me touch him gently with my face, although too much of that gets an avoidance reaction (he leans away and will fly if pressured).

Also, and this is unusual of Amazons, he's very quiet. He occasionally clucks (almost exactly like a chicken), and does this repeatedly. He loves being talked to and will occasionally whistle (sometimes even wolf whistle) in response. He's not silent, but he's certainly not loud. The only time he's ever loud is when he is angry at me (and what a creepy sound it is). I'm not complaining about the quiet, just wanna know if its a sign of depression or something.

He seems, at least to me, relatively happy, no plucking, grooms himself happily, eats well, etc. He just seems so bored and with how uninterested he is in toys and not really enjoying interaction beyond speech, I just don't know how to entertain him. I want to give him the best life possible for however long he has, I just don't know exactly what the next steps are.

#260147 - 12/10/16 09:12 AM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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Atiggerx33 Offline
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I should mention that he lives in my bedroom, which is birdproof. There is certainly stuff he can damage, but nothing that can damage him. I am also disabled, so I'm home nigh constantly, except for doctors, so he gets a good amount of company (I spend most of my time in my bedroom).

He also exhibits some stereotypical behavior, I call it the "walk-and-slide". He'll walk forward the length of his cage-top perch, and then kind of sidestep the other direction back, over and over. Don't know if this is unhealthy (mentally) or just his way of exercising, or a habit he got into from being cagebound. He almost never leaves his cage of his own free will, except to steal food. Idk how many sandwiches I have lost to him when I left the room to use the bathroom, the little brat throws them on the floor too, I believe so that I can't eat them, and of course I stupidly reward him by giving him some sandwich instead of wasting it (he's trained me well). Occasionally when my boyfriend is eating Nero will fly dramatically around the room nearly crashing into my boyfriend's head. This is only done while eating, and clearly an attempt to either get food given to him (he has trained us both), or startle my boyfriend into dropping the food (and thus being given to him if parrot safe). He's a funny one for sure, and certainly spoiled. I just want him to be happy.

Also, forgot to mention, with his age he may be wild caught, I honestly have no idea how to tell. He has a fake band? If straight it would be a metal cylinder, it's an open band, and it has no markings at all whatsoever.

#260153 - 12/10/16 03:08 PM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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It honestly sounds like Nero has blossomed in your care. So many amazons that I have met have very similar behaviors to Nero. You're very lucky and smart getting him to fly. This will help to keep him healthy in his elderly years. Amazons are very prone to fatty liver disease, exercise and diet play a huge part in battling this.
I have also met other amazons that are quieter than the norm, be thankful, lol!
Does Nero go for annual veterinary exams? At his age this is extremely important to help keep him healthy. They are susceptible to not only liver issues but heart disease and stroke as well.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260157 - 12/10/16 05:48 PM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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Atiggerx33 Offline
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Thank you Cassie. I'm glad to hear his relative quietness compared to most Amazons I've heard about isn't a sign of depression. And since that is the case I am extremely thankful for my luck.

Yes he does go to the vet, although its so expensive here. An exam can set me back at least $600 so occasionally he's a bit late for his yearly. I also am ashamed to say I take him to an avian pet store that sells birds for nail clippings. The workers there seem to care about the birds in their care at least, and do a good job, its not like a chain store type place. The only reason I do this is that they only charge $8 for a clipping, while if I brought him into my vet they want $50.

Edit: They do the clipping right in front of me, so I know he is being treated as delicately as possible (which with a furiously flailing amazon isn't easy), and that they aren't hurting him.

I try to work with him every day to do step ups, and some shoulder time, since he's so scared of hands he immediately sprints up to my shoulder when I do get him. He's never made a move to bite my face (my glasses though fascinate him, and seem 'chewable'), he'll take food as a reward there but wants both feet firmly planted on the shoulder. I tend to give him small pieces of junk food for this bonding (his faves) yesterday was tiny chunks of Mac and cheese. He tends to get a bunch in my hair but whatever. Whoever came up with the phrase "you eat like a bird" most certainly never watched a parrot eat.

Last edited by Atiggerx33; 12/10/16 06:04 PM.
#260159 - 12/11/16 12:14 AM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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Considering his age he may never trust hands but don't stop trying. Someday he just may shock you. I knew another older amazon that in his 40s changed many things when he moved in with a new family.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260160 - 12/11/16 07:07 AM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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Atiggerx33 Offline
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Here's to hoping. He seemed to enjoy shoulder time today a bit more than usual. I usually try to get our sessions to last at least 15 mins (several times per day), but he almost always cuts them short when he wants to go back to his cage. I never want him to feel trapped when it comes to spending time with me, so I always let him end it on his terms (but he must spend at least 5 mins with me). Today, I was the one to end the session with him. He stayed the full 15 mins, and enjoyed a lot of treats and "good bird"'s.

#260181 - 12/19/16 02:39 AM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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Beeps Offline
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Couple of thoughts, especially as he seems motivated:

1. Have you ever considered clicker training? It's a really easy way to bond with your bird, and most birds love showing off how smart they are. Make him work for his food, and bring joy to both of you.

2. Some birds are just not ever going to want to step up a certain way, but keep being imaginative and find a way that works for you. Maybe he'd step up on a stick? My parents' tiel will step up on a wooden ladder, but is terrified of hands. I've known birds who will easily step up on a hand that's covered with a towel or shirt. You can try different things and redefine what success is -- it doesn't have to be stepping up on your hand.

Thanks for giving this guy a great next chapter in his life!

#260272 - 01/18/17 03:35 AM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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bellesmom Offline
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Im reading this a little late, hopefully you are still around. A few years ago, when I adopted my amazon, someone here told me they liked foot toys and boy were they right. Rio loves to hold his toys with his foot and chew them, the wood ones.


#260273 - 01/18/17 03:35 AM Re: Nero the Blue Fronted Amazon [Re: Atiggerx33]  
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bellesmom Offline
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bellesmom  Offline
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Im reading this a little late, hopefully you are still around. A few years ago, when I adopted my amazon, someone here told me they liked foot toys and boy were they right. Rio loves to hold his toys with his foot and chew them, the wood ones.



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