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________________

We meet on the first Tuesday of every month from
7:00-9:00
at the
Serendipity Adult Day Services

on
3550 East 20th Ave

(We love your birds, but please don't bring them to our meetings. We usually have a bird of the month already attending. Thanks!)

Bird of the Month
September 2006

Blue the Blue Fronted Amazon
By Bird Club member Diane Richards 

General information of the Blue Front

Amazon: Their habitat is located in South America. Blue Front Amazon’s originate from Southwestern Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Northern Argentina. These Amazon’s are exceptionally beautiful and the only species of Amazon to have the gorgeous display of colored feathers once weaned, the others develop their striking colors as they mature and molt.

Habitat: Forest, palm groves, open savanna with woodland, cleared and cultivated areas to 1,600 m (4,800 ft).

Status: Common; but endangered in some localities by extensive trapping.

Habits: These Amazon’s live in pairs or small groups; seen during day either feeding or resting in tops of trees; then very quiet and only detected by falling food remains; not shy and can be approached; if alarmed, flies away screeching loudly; conspicuous and noisy during flight; pairs can be determined flying closely together; occasionally very large flocks gather towards evening in roosting trees; seasonal migrations; occasionally forages in plantations causing considerable damage; their call’s raucous and loud.

Description: Generally green; feathers faintly edged with black; variables in head coloring; forehead and lore’s blue; front of crown, eye area, sometimes ear-coverts and thighs are yellow; lower cheeks and chin green, blue or yellow; bend of the wing red, sometimes with scattering of yellow feathers; edge of the wing yellowish-green; primaries and primary-coverts with violet-blue tips; red wingspeculum on outer five secondary’s; tail are green with greenish-yellow tips; base of the outer feathers are red; skin to per ophthalmic o (around the eye) ring whitish to grey; bill is dark grey; iris orange; and feet are grey.

Length: In general is around 15 inches.

Average Life Span: Generally 40 to 50 years but will excellent care and feeding can live as long at 80 years. The oldest recorded Amazon lived to be 119 years of age!

Sexing: This cannot be determined by appearance, each bird must have a DNA test completed.

Natural diet is berries, seeds, nuts, flowers and wild fruits.

Captive diet is, seed mix of safflower, wheat, oats, hemp, dried rowan berries, buckwheat and mung beans; sprouted sunflower; some pine-nuts; various fruit and vegetables; half-ripe maize; rose hips; green leaf veggies.

Breeding behavior: Breeding season October to March.

Note: with Alaska’s summers being longer this season for Amazons can change as well as last longer. The birds nest in established trees; generally one nest 2.5 acres; they will use the same nest hole every year; egg measures 38,1 x 29,6 mm (1.50 x 1.16 ins).

Amazon parrots are very good at talking and imitating sounds, talents rivaled only by the African Grey Parrot. There had been much debate whether parrots actually were communicating or simply mimicking their owners. Research has clearly shown they are very intelligent and will speak in context: one test subject, Alex, can, for starters, name about 40 objects, say how many objects are in a tray, identify seven different colors, and say whether two objects are the same or different. Studies put the intelligence of these feathered chatterboxes on the same level as three-year old humans, dolphins and monkeys.

Amazons are actually very similar in personality to monkeys, and both animals’ lead similar lives back in their rainforest canopies. Amazons are very energetic, playful, social creatures that crave lots of interaction with their human owners. The best pet birds are hand-raised and have bonded early with human companions. More than other parrot species, Amazons are well known for their strong or often moody characters. They can be, at different times, cuddly, loud, quiet, stubborn, silly, jealous, playfully aggressive or irritable. They will play and fight with their toys for hours on end, even rolling over on their backs to juggle a ball or play with some string. Sometimes, however, an Amazon will temporarily become possessive of a toy, or a person, and may become quite aggressive toward anyone who tries to interfere. Careless owners have had fingers or ears bitten, followed by a trip to the hospital for stitches. This is the trickier aspect of owning an Amazon parrot; you really have to understand your bird's moods and behaviors. Amazon parrots are definitely not for all pet owners, they need much more love and attention than most people would expect.

Blue; whom I first met in February this year was at a house where I bought cages. His name was Brat because of his sullen attitude. He was rescued from his original owners who’d purchased him and his sister and found early that they were noisy and would bite. They were both relocated to the garage where they spent over 6 years. Then rescued they were spilt up and Blue went to the lady I knew. He lived in a small cage in the corner.

The first day I met him, he didn’t make any movement when I approached the cage, just stared. Well, when I went the next time he whispered “hello”, so softly I thought I imagined it… next time the same thing and I knew I was going to take him home!

I took Blue home that day and gave him a new name, new cage, bath and lots of attention! My other BF’s reaction to her own species was truly amazing!

Now, my birds are used to seeing me walk in the door with a bird carrier and go really quiet, and then one will say, “Ohhhh, a baby…” (Yes Lin, they’re all babies when they first get home, lol!) Blue traveled home well, very quiet and I’m sure nervous and a little scared. When we walked in he changed completely, so did Pixie! He fanned, pinned and yelled… gee, what happened to that quiet, withdrawn bird I saw just a few minutes ago?

After his 45 days quarantine his joined the group. He would not go out of his new cage and interact so my darling Pixie took it upon herself to introduce herself. At first they were both nervous but in no time they were ducking off into one of the others cage, sneaking under plants and tables and since then have been inseparable.

They now share a cage, and although I may have to remove him for being aggressive he always gets back to her. When they are separated the two of them hang on their cages staring at each other and whispering… it’s amazing to watch. Pixie will tell me over and over again as well as anyone who comes to visit that “Bue’s a gooood boy, Bue’s a vewee, vewee gooood boy!”

Blue does NOT interact with me or any human, refusing to trust us. That’s fine with me, he’s here to enjoy his life, play with the others and his buddy and not worry about food or inappropriate treatment as he had in the garage. His Angel was the lady who had him before me, taking him out of the situation after weaning. I would love to know how his sister in doing…but may never find out? Blue torso is completely plucked, the fluff is back now but, I (nor the vet) believe his feathers will return.

 

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The Alaska Bird Club • P.O. Box 101825 • Anchorage AK 99510
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