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People Who Understand.... And People Who Don't. ( Or, "Why Is This Bird Crazy?" )

Here are comments from two different Moluccan owners.  Both are trying to understand their birds and do right by them.  Both have "average" Mollucans, which simply means that the birds (like most) have seen several homes, mostly because of the behaviors described here.  Difference is, one owner understands.    

Here is Elizabeths Letter...  

I have taken the moluccan back this evening.  Even the vet said she was a good deal at $300.  However, since I wrote the post this afternoon, my son went near the cage and the bird rammed the bars.  My son was at least 3 feet from the cage sitting quietly into his chair.  I really was scared then, but when my husband got home and tried to make up with the bird, by handing her a peanut she ripped it out of his hand and rammed the bars again.  Then she made hissing noises.

With me, she would whistle the sexy girl whistle and try and climb on my hand, while mashing  herself to the bars to get love?

At the vet, she immediately went for the vet.  He jumped and was in the clear, but was clearly  afraid and told her so.  After informing her he was afraid of her, she magically climbed off  the top of the carrying cage and walked over and lied her head down sideways on the table in front of him.  Do cockatoos have brain damage or what?  This was a personality flip within maybe  a 2 minute period.

After informing the owners that I was returning the bird, which of course they insisted she must  have just needed time, I convinced them that I was just not the right person for this bird.  I took  the bird out of the carrying cage and she clung to me like she was my baby from the time she was born.  I put her on the stand at her owners home and multiple times reached out for me and clung back to my chest and put her head down.  I don't know why this bird loved me so much, but it  clearly had wanted to stay with me.

Unfortunately, I'm not single for the benefit of this bird. It's been through four homes and now is going on home five, what a bummer.  How sad that birds really can't tell when humans are kind,  you know the old adage that animals know when someone is nice.  My husband catches the  crickets in the house when they come in and take them outside.  He never would have hurt that  bird for anything.  He even said after the fact that he didn't want me to get rid of the bird that seemed to love me so much, just because she was scared and bit him.

After the vet experience, hateful nasty flying to bite, then to lying down on the table to get love,  I'm convinced these birds were bred to have a screw loose.  I don't necessarily believe that they  are all wild, when they are born in captivity, by humans raising them.  I can't help but wonder what the hell goes on in their little hearts and minds to screw up their chances at so many different homes, for a bird thats supposed to be so intelligent.  They seem pretty stupid to me.  Nasty,  flighty, neurotic and deadly.  They are amusing, but you can watch a comedy if you want to be amused.  I was looking for a companion, someone to talk with, love, and play with.  My eclectics  falls short in all those areas, except the talking part.

I don't want a parakeet or cockatiel.  I don't know what I want, everyone you talk to lies.  They  tell you their birds are the best.  You can't believe anyone, you have to just learn by experience.  Thank god my learning experience only got my husband, with two punctures down to the bone and alot of missing flesh, he has rough hands.  If it had been me, it would have been much worse, and  my son, he would have lost his finger.

These birds are the most f_____ed up birds I've ever met.  I am relieved that she is not here tonight, and sad that someone who seemed to love me I had to shun.  


*Webmasters note:  Elizabeth really tried, but learned the hard way that these birds are not for everyone.  She also learned that they can be dangerous and untrustworthy.  The hard part for her  to understand is how and why such "killer" could be at the same time such a "lover".  But blaming this behavior on the bird is not really fair.  And it's obvious that she thinks that just because the bird was captive bred and hand raised... it should be by default DOMESTIC.  Well.... that's where she fails to understand!  It just doesn't work that way.  If it did, everyone would own baby Tigers that were born in captivity also.  All in all however, I'm so glad that Elizabeth at least took the time to attempt to understand and give me feedback as to her situation.  She at least attempted to get help and understanding, which is more than a lot of people do.


Now,  Here Is Gwens Letter....

Hi, Jerry.

Thanks for a brutally honest website!!  I am a happy and proud mother of a 5-year old male moluccan.  But my happiness came after a TRYING beginning.  My story is this:  I originally fell  in love with a hyacinth macaw that was being boarded at a pet store because the wife of the owner couldn't stand the bird.  The man running the store felt a bird that size might be too much for me to handle...I'm 5'1".  He suggested a moluccan..."They're beautiful and very loving," he told me.

So off I went to research the moluccan.  I was on the web every single day for hours and hours surfing and reading EVERYTHING I could possibly find on the behavior and care for moluccans.  I remember reading MANY articles about how CUDDLY AND LOVABLE moluccans are.  I also read the good and the bad. 

After months of research, I felt I was prepared to take on the mighty moluccan.  I found my baby in an ad on the web among MANY other ads for various breeds of cockatoos from owners who just "didn't have time for them anymore."  The owner happened to live only 5 minutes away from me.  I visited Peaches ( his name) and played with him for hours about 4 or 5 times before I decided to purchase him.  I am the third owner.  His first dad was going through a divorce, so he went to his next owner.  The next owner was going away to college, so here he is with me now...the last owner was the promise I made to myself before the purchase.

At the visits before purchase, Peaches was very sweet and friendly.  I put my hand out to pet his head and he put his foot out to step up onto my hand.  I talked softly to him as he ran around on  the coffee table and he would come over and put his head up against my check and coo and cluck softly.  I sat at one end of the coffee table and he ran over to me from the other end, stopped, cocked his head to the side and seductively said, "Hiiiiiiiiiiiii."  SOLD!!

I bought him a 24" X 36" California dome top cage (it would have been bigger, but then it wouldn't fit through my door) and tons of toys.  The first day home, it only took seconds of looking in the  cage at all the toys that he couldn't wait to get in there to check it out.  The next morning, I went to  open his cage door and he stepped right up onto my is the perfect bird.  Day two, well, I opened the door and he just sat there and refused to come out.  I came to find out that EVERYONE in my family was able to get him out of the cage except me.  I did nothing to have made him afraid or mad at I figured it was an adjustment period.  Well, it got to the point where he would not allow he to even pick him up at all....out of the cage or off the perch.  He lunged at me every time I even came near him.  ANYONE ELSE in my family could pick him up with no problems.  I figured this was an adjustment period for him and he was testing me.

About the second week of having him, I took him to the vet for a routine exam.  He had a staph infection.  I had to give him injections two times a day...6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.  That meant  chasing him around and wrapping him up in a towel two times a day for 10 days.  This did nothing  to improve our rocky relationship already.  He feared me more than the Godfather of moluccans.  After treatment for the staph, naturally he came to fear towels or anything that he could possibly  be wrapped up in.  And for the first 3 months, he bit me ferociously just about on a daily basis...and drew blood just about every single time.  I have many scars on my hands and arms.  I was THIS close to giving him up...back in the ads, I thought.  But...just ONE last chance....if he bites me ONE more time, that's it.

Well, he bit me again.  Okay, just ONE more time.  This time I really mean it.  Well, he bit me again.  Now, this is REALLY IT.  I've had it......or have I???  Every time I thought about putting  him back in an ad, I had to stop and ask myself......Is it his fault he bit me?  After careful thought,  the answer was always no.  I blamed myself for being bitten, for not being aware, not paying attention, not understanding, not being another moluccan.  And every time I thought about putting him in an ad, I think back to the promise I made to myself before I decided to purchase him....I am determined to be his last MOM and his last HOME.  And I also think about the times that he  gives me kisses and says "hello, hi, come here, watcha doin? good boy, pretty bird" and his wolf whistles and the way he cocks his head to the side and it just breaks my heart.  I would miss him more than anything if I gave him away or sold him.

And I also think to myself...I PUT HIM IN THIS SITUATION.  He did not choose to come live  with me or live with ANYONE for that matter.  He did not choose to live in a cage.  He did not choose to get his wings clipped so he cannot fly.  So it is up to me to do whatever I have to do to keep him happy and keep him healthy because I forced this kind of existence upon him.

Well, I've learned to read his body language MOST of the time and have avoided many bites and they are fewer and farther between now.  It will be our one-year anniversary this month and I wouldn't trade him for the world.  I put him up on a table perch and raise him over my head and we run around the house.  We take showers together and he spreads his wings out and shows how  much he enjoys it.  We go to Office Depot together; we go to the mall; we go to the park; we go to Starbucks; he chases me around the house when he's on the floor.  We go to the beach.  We hug  and cuddle before he goes to bed.  He swings like a wild monkey upside down from his perch tray and screams like there's no tomorrow.  I think he's happy.  Is he as happy as he would be if  he were in the wild?  I doubt that.  Has he stopped biting me for good?  Seriously doubt that too.  But is every bite worth every bit of happiness he has brought into my life?  YOU BET.

My worst fear is that one day, he will be one of the tragic stories of self-mutilation and it would be my fault.  I pray that day does not come.  And to avoid that day, I will do anything and everything I can to keep him happy the best I know how...even if it means standing on my head and doing  back flips for him.  I love him that much and I can't imagine life without  him.


*Webmasters Note:  Here you see a completely different viewpoint.  Gwen really understands and accepts the fact that her bird is just that: A somewhat wild creature with the ability to also show love.  More importantly, she has learned to read the body signs I believe,  and knows when to give her bird a wide berth.  As the picture to the left shows, when a Moluccan gets mad or displays, it can be a startling experience, with lots of unusual body posture...hissing from hell... and ear shattering squawking.   Gwen hasnt seen the worst to come however (assuming the bird's only 5 years old)  when sexual aggression takes over soon in his life.  But I think that Gwen will know enough about him by then to also leap that hurdle, and I wish her all the luck in the world.