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Mexican Hat Bird
Member Name: freespirit1402
Date: 03/07/02, updated on 09/07/02 (334 review reads)
Advantages: Companionship, Humour, Love
Disadvantages: Make a lot of dust, Require a lot of space, A bit pricey
"Hello ugly b**ch, you old sl***er!" Yes its another beautiful morning and Saracen wants to let me know he cares!
Saracen, or Sarry, or Saz depending on how naughty he is being is a five year old African Grey, the third we have owned. Our first and second unfortunately died and believe me these are devastating events and I cried for weeks. But Saracen is the love of my life despite having language that would put a navvy to shame and an unfortunate propensity to kiss you after eating chilli's!
We bought him five or six years ago after moving back from Germany, still only a young baby. These parrots are about a foot tall (I think but I'm not the most accurate person in the world) and are grey with a beautiful red tail and a blackish grey wicked beak. They are born with black eyes which gradually lighten to grey before turning yellow. When we bought Sarry he was still a black eyed boy but is now fully mature with yellow eyes. They have an unparalleled mimicing ability and Sarry has a vocabulary we have worked out of approximately 200-330 words.
They also have the ability to make certain mental links meaning Saracen will always say Bye Bye to me if I put my coat on and begin a full fledged conversation complete with mm-hmm's if the phone rings. He has an annoying tendency to imitate the smoke alarm just as I've put the grill on and many a time has seen me dashing out into the hall waving a tea towel only to find the noise stops and the parrot shouts 'HELLO!'
He is a huge football fan and will woohoo along with the crowd and turn loop the loops on his perch but his favourite program is countdown as he loves to imitate the countdown clock. His favourite song is crazy horses by the osmonds as he can make the wailing noises at the beginning. And his favourite book? Why any with a colour picture of an African Grey he can blow kisses at of course!
He has an unparalleled range of swearwords
- not the nicest choice of words in the world but he says them with such love and affection that you have to forgive him. As our house is a bit of a menagerie he can call me and my sisters by name, imitate the cats and call them by name (scolding them with 'bad cat' if neccesary) and imitate our guinea pigs.
I could go on for hours describing his vocabulary but will reign in my enthusiasm.
African Greys live for fifty to eighty years in captivity with the right care and have a diet of seeds, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables. Chocolate is to be avoided as it is poisonous to them but try as we might Sarry can hear a crisp packet being opened in the next room and sets up a dreadful racket if we dont let him nibble a tiny piece. They need fresh water every day but occasionally more often after a particualrly vigourous bathing session when you will find water running down your walls and furniture.
They do require a lot of space and make a lot of dust but if you have the time and resources are a fantastic companion for life. They tend to bond to one person although in our house Sarry has made an exception and has adopted both me and my mum. My dad is a deeply loathed figure for some reason however and Saracen often plots how to get him - I swear you can see it in his eyes! The downside to this affection is that he tends to believe I am his 'mate' so whilst I can take great liberties with him that would lose other people their fingers - rubbing his belly and under his wings etc. I do have to beware of him attempting to feed me with regurgitated food - loving it may be, attractive its not! He also enjoys eating dried chillis then offering you a kiss that leaves your lips burning!
They are expensive birds, anything from £700 upwards plus the cost of a very large cage and regular toys to prevent boredom - a highly intelligent parrot such as the Grey can be easily bored which will lead to behavioural problems, and it takes
some patience and a few sticking plasters possibly to tame a wild one but if you have the money, space and patience you will be rewarded a hundred fold in terms of love, companionship and moments of laughter. The most rewarding momensts of owning a parrot come when your parrot allows you to kiss it for the first time or masters a new word you have been trying to teach it.
Oh and the mexican hat bird? Just the latest song he has mastered whistling and is now driving us mad repeating!
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