Friday, July 13, 2012

Parrots Galore: Part 5

Welcome back to the final issue of the Parrots Galore series.  Today’s subject is Jazz, my Green-cheeked Conure.  If you would like to read about my other birds, which are budgerigars, I encourage you to explore the rest of this site. 
 Jazz--my Green-cheeked Conure
I found Jazz at a pet store five years ago.  I visited him once a week for six weeks before I finally decided to bring him home with me.  His “personality” was amazing!  He would step up to my finger with ease and then travel up my arm onto my shoulder and into my hair.  The price I paid for him was the most I had ever spent on an animal, but he was well worth it.  His big personality makes up for his small size.  He is about 10 inches long and weighs in at about 75 grams (about 2.5 ozs.).  I have owned budgies for over 16 years and when I brought Jazz into the flock he was at least twice as large as my other birds.  Budgies are about seven inches long and weigh between 30-40 grams so I really had to get used to his size difference.

I give Jazz a variety of foods, which consist of pellets, seeds, some fruits and vegetables.  Pellets are a scientifically made food product that consists of all the nutrients to fulfill the needs of animals.  Dry dog or cat food is very similar to bird food in pelleted form.  You may have to go to a pet store to find pelleted bird food, as it is not commonly found in most grocery stores.  Jazz’s favorite seed is the safflower seed.  Usually most parrots that I’ve encountered favor sunflower seeds above all others, but not Jazz.

In the wild Green-cheeked conures are found in South America, more specifically Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.  Their lifespan ranges from 20 to 25 years.  Their diet in the wild includes various seeds, fruits and nuts. 

There are many different species of Conures. Green-cheeked Conures are one of the smaller species.  Conures range from 9 inches to 19 inches in length and weigh from 60 grams to over 300 grams.  There are over 40 different species and over 100 subspecies of Conures in the world today. 

Green-cheeked Conures have five different color mutations that include cinnamon, yellow-sided, pineapple, turquoise and green/red/blue mutations.  The last mutation is the rarest mutation of them all. 
 Jazz is very affectionate
Jazz is the most interactive parrot I have ever owned.  He absolutely loves attention, is very social and has many toys he likes to play with during the day.  His favorite toys are bells and balls with bells inside them.  In addition, Jazz also loves to preen my hair, especially when it’s wet.  Whenever he is in his cage or on the platform of his door, he can be seen hanging upside down swinging from side to side.  He has a lot of energy to expend every day and does a great job doing it! 

Green-cheeked Conures are not great at mimicking sounds, but can learn to mimic a few words and phrases.  Jazz’s vocabulary includes such phrases as “Jazzy bird”, “cutie”, “huh?”, “What are you doing?”, and “look at you!”.  Out of all of the phrases that he can say, I did not teach them to him purposefully (this is something all potential parrot owners must remember, for parrots will pick up bad words and phrases).  I was quite astounded when I first heard him repeat my words to me.  His first words were, “What are you doing?”  I couldn’t believe it, but it was true.  I’d had him for about six to seven months before he repeated words and phrases.

A very funny example of how endearing his behavior can be is this: One evening I went into the bathroom and shut the door.  Jazz was in the other room free flighted (not in his cage).  Moments later, he flew down to the bathroom door, put his head towards the bottom of the door and said “What are you doing?”.  That was so hysterical! He does not put his phrases or words into context very often, but when he does I enjoy it very much.  When I leave him and the other birds in the morning to go to work, I say “good bye” and “I love you” and Jazz in turn says “Look at you!”  This seems to have become our morning ritual.  I have been trying to teach him to repeat, “I love you,” for well over two years now, but he still has not said it.  I am determined that he will learn it so I am not giving up. .  I have the feeling that he will say it one day out of the blue when I am least expecting it.

At night when he goes to sleep, he climbs into a fuzzy blue tent that hangs at the top of his cage.  Once he is in it, all you can see is his tale sticking out.  He has slept in that tent for over four years now.  I would think he would get tired of it, but he must love the feeling of his “little nest”. 

Jazz is the happiest bird I have ever known and I love him very much.  I'm sure all of you bird owners out there can understand that!  Enjoy your time exploring the rest of this site when reading about other bird encounters and stories! 

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist


Christopher said...

I also have a green cheek conure parrot, his name is lucky, I cut his wings as a baby then slowly allowed them to grow back so he wouldn't fly too far away.

Being that I live in the bushland, he likes to fly around outside, and will always return when it gets dark. He put's the kettle on for me in the mornings, and screams at me if i don't wake up before 8:00 am, I am not joking about this. Also I talk to him, like I would talk to a little boy, even though I know he doesn't always understand, I am beginning to know what he does understand. He's really cool.

If you want to know more, you can contact me.

Photog said...

@Christopher - Even though you seem to feel comfortable with letting your Conure fly free outside, we would not recommend this practice to our readers. Birds can become deterred by various outdoor distractions (other birds, wind gusts, strange objects, etc.) and fly off. In a case like this a bird that has been raised by humans to be a house pet since they were a chick is not equipped to survive in the wild as he would face many challenges such as weather, predators, disease, etc., just to name a few. Your bird sounds like a wonderful companion and we wish you many years of enjoyment from your little friend.