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Thank you DooYoo for hearing my cry! Or rather the shrill squawk of my Nanday Conure Indie wanting to be the centre of attention, as he is always the focal point of every room he is in!
Conure is a broad term for a collection of small-medium sized birds really - there are many different varieties and are sometimes referred to as a parakeet (just to throw me a little more when I was looking to purchase a bird!). I was fortunate enough to work with a Sun Conure for around 4 months and I've had Indie - a Nanday Conure since September 2008 when he was just 2 months old - which is the same bird as in the picture.
These wonderful creatures are not for the faint hearted. The different varieties have apparent different personalities, but again this differentiates from bird to bird. The Sun conure I worked with was extremely noisy and would bite quite hard. Having not handled a bird before I tended to let him get away with this warning and therefore he wasn't overally tame with any one because we all reacted the same. I have exploited communities such as birdboard.com and used numerous books and guides and online video's to give myself a foot up with my nanday and have to say that it's made a huge difference to the relationship I have with my bird.
It is hard to pinpoint characteristics shared by all the different species. The Nanday is probably the most common variety along with the green-cheek to be bought as pets. They are flock animals which means when I walk out of the room mine is in he will squawk very loudly for a short period. If he misses me, can hear me at a distance, knows when I'm home etc...he will squawk for me. I find it an endearing quality, but not so much when he's sat on my shoulder, blaring his beak off and deafening me frequently! They are also capable of speaking - again this varies from bird to bird. Mine has been showing me up recently because I cluck and crow like a chicken in a weak attempt to imitate his squawk and now he does an impression of a chicken. Very impressionable (watch out what you're saying when you're round them!!) and very loveable.
The birds themselves come in a variety of wonderful, beautiful colours and varities. There are some rarer breeds which fetch a lot of money - there is a Dusky conure in a local pet shop on sale for £450.00. Indie cost me £80 and was worth every penny! But as with every animal, they need to be kept occupied with lots of toys and variety in their diet. Fresh fruit, veggies, seeds and parrot mix along with a long list of other foods will keep your conure healthy and strong. Indie has an obsession with bells and will play with his for a long time. It is also important that they get to come out of their cages. Imagine being locked up all day, playing with the same toys and seeing the world pass by around you. I've chosen not to clip Indie's wings, and this issue itself is surrounded with a lot of controversy but it's the best decision I've ever made. He wings it around my room and lands deftly on my head. He used to be pretty rubbish at flying and had the crash land down to a tee but now he has a lot more control and I feel that this is down to allowing him to fly. It's a personal choice and you have to consider the space that your birds in. If there is more room to hurt himself, then it would be an idea. There are many incidents over-clipped birds not being able to escape the clutches of dogs, or clipped birds still being able to get enough height to escape out the window and get taken off on a strong wind. You have to take responsibility for your bird and it's environment - you've got a companion for potentially the next 30 years so when going for a bird, recognise that you're signing up for a fair few years of love, challenging times and a lot of responsibility - be ready for it! He's worth it but you need to be ready to take him on!!