not your average parrot...

At about 5:15 am on May 17th, 2011, I awoke to some faint noises that Rocky was making, and found him hanging upside down from one of his perches.  He had been sneezing a bit the night before, but was still playing and having fun before he went to sleep.  I had checked on him a couple times and he seemed okay.  I held him in the morning and within a few minutes he breathed his last breath as I held him.  I don't know what the causes were, not sure if I will find out.  I will miss him forever, he helped me through some very difficult times in my life and was always my beacon of light to let me know everything will be okay.  I'm extremely sad as I write this, because it happened only minutes ago and it still hasn't sunk in completely.  I keep thinking I'm going to go around the corner and he will be peeping for his favorite treats.

When I first thought about getting Rocky, or rather getting an Umbrella Cockatoo, I was told all sorts of things to watch out for. I was also told that they are very dependent, they  need constant attention, they are better off with a partner, etc. I couldn't afford two parrots, so I figured I would take my chances and if things didn't work out I could sell him before I get too attached. Of course, I wasn't going to give up easily, and wanted to at  least see if I could handle it, especially since parrots have the reputation for being noisy and  obnoxious.

Well, Rocky disproved all those theories, and for over a decade he has been anything but typical. For instance, Rocky has not muttered a single word. I figure either he is content, or he just doesn't like to complain. He also is confined to his cage all day and all night. Oh, not because I don't let him out, it's because he just doesn't venture out. When I get home from work I open his cage and it stays opened until I leave for work the next day. He used to come out and walk across the carpet to visit me while I watched TV, but his imaginary tether has been rather short lately. Then there is the reputation that parrots squawk non-stop. Nope. Not Rocky. He has been audible about, say, a couple  dozen times since I have owned him, and usually that is when I am screwing with him. I tease him sometimes, just to get his "feathers ruffled". I am sure he doesn't like it but he probably realizes that while it's negative attention, it is attention nonetheless. Oh, and let's not forget about shredding everything in sight, another popular parrot activity. He doesn't do that either.

Rocky has a few toys in his cage, but for some reason he has kept his shredding to what is in his cage and has never left his mark on any of my furnishings. Now, you are probably wondering if he is a real parrot, after all, he certainly doesn't act like a parrot. Most parrots can't wait to get the latch undone and climb out of the cage and shred drapery, linens, or to chew up wooden tables, all for their loving owner to come home to at the end of a long day. No, I walk in  the door and Rocky 'peeps'. A couple times I actually  forgot to close his cage and left it open all day.  And when I walked in the door there he was, inside, with a look that seems to say, " left the damn door open wasn't me!".

I showed him twice in local shows and decided to retire him from the show circuit when I realized how nervous he was.  I think he liked being out but didn't like the commotion going on around him...he never took his eyes off me the entire evening.  He did, however, manage to walk away with four awards (legally) at these shows: first place and second place ribbons at the first show, and at the second show he won a ribbon for second in class and trophy for members choice best in show.  He's kinda fond of it and hasn't gotten over the ego boost...he's got that whole death grip going there and I can't quite pry his trophy away from him yet, the little brat.

Yeppir, I figured when I was buying a parrot I'd get all the bad that is associated with one, but I really got something else.  Rocky even cuddles if you can believe that, and let's not forget his favorite...scratches on his chin. ( parrots even have a chin?)  Rocky doesn't fly, either.  I let his wings grow out once and tried to see if he would fly back to his cage. He flapped his wings, dropped to the ground...and he walked back across the living room to his cage. I guess he is a little like me in a way...I have had a motorcycle for the past year that I never ride.  All in all, Rocky has been pretty awesome.  People still ask me if I've had him since he was a baby.  I just tell them, "Nah...I bought him used...and he still is a baby."

For your reading enjoyment:

A Parrot in an Ad

 - Rocky's Poem

The Rocky Chronicles

 - Living with the Blind 'Too 

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