Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Post Holiday Hangovers...

So, yesterday was the day I was going to catch up on a huge amount of blog info...ha! The best laid plans, etc...

Instead, we had a parrot emergency. Bishop, our huge Green-Winged Macaw, broke a blood feather. Essentially, new feathers, as their growing in, have blood flowing in them. Lots and lots of blood! If the feather is cut or broken, blood flows out. Imagine a soda straw stuck into one of your veins. Bishop managed to break a huge primary wing feather...a big soda straw!

Two other points — parrots are prey animals, and unlike your dog or cat, when they're hurt, sick or in pain, they hide it, and hide it well. It's that pesky evolution thing...parrots that did a bad job of hiding their infirmaries ended up as something's dinner and out of the gene pool. Plus, birds don't have a whole lot of blood to lose, and there's a very real danger that the bird will bleed out before the caretaker realizes there is a problem.

It's an easy-fix problem — pull the feather. Harder than one might think with a pissed-off, furious, in-pain two pound macaw. The first we noticed there was a problem was when she began painting the walls and ceiling with blood splatters. It being the Fourth, there was not a single avian emergency vet within an hour's drive — too long with her bleeding that badly.

We "toweled" her — imagine capturing a spinning rotary saw in a beach towel — then sorted through her blood-soaked wings to find the feather pumping blood. She trusts us, and she's been towel-trained. But she hurt, and holding a bird on its back is about as unnatural as it gets. Usually, when a parrot is on its back, the bird has "lost the air" and is in a last-ditch defense against a predator.

Eventually we got the feather out (pliers!); calmed her down; cleaned her up and got her eating. She's fine this morning...she lost a lot of blood, so she's a little sluggish, but she should be 100% in a couple of days.

That was my holiday!

3 comments:

Andrew Upson said...

Damn - Glad the macaw is going to be OK. I just picked up the boys (an Indian Ringneck and a Quaker) and my old man (a 21 year old cockatiel) from the sitters today. They sure were happy I was home. My family went to Glenwood Springs for the 4th to visit with a friend which is why they were at the sitters.

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