I still remember browsing through ads online when I found Zaza’s ad. Just a simple “tame parrot for sale (asking $$$) with cage”. Nothing special. Now usually I send them an email on behalf of Brainy Birds and offer to assist them with finding their birds a new home. Sometimes they prefer to have the birds come live at the rescue. Which happened to be the case with this one. I sent all the information to Dee (founder of Brainy Birds) and she contacted them and arranged to go meet them, turns out, they had absolutely no idea what type of bird he was. At the time he was around 6 months old (only eating seeds and terrified of humans) and kept in a rather large, somewhat empty cage in some sort of day care facility. His cage was placed in the center of the room with noisy children running around him…get the picture?
I met him two days later, I usually try to be careful not to scare the new birds but I completely forgot he was there and just walked into the room like I always do, giving him the fright of his life! Just the sight of someone entering the room was enough to send him into an absolute panic, fluttering and screaming every time. Kinda assumed he was going to be a difficult little guy, and I was right. LOL.
For some reason he responded to me, taking treats from my hand through the cage bars within a few hours. So Dee suggested I should adopt Zaza after Ozzy (previous foster) goes back to his original owner, it was more of a spur of the moment type of decision. Which was good because that’s exactly what he and I needed. Learning to deal with things as they arrive rather than planning everything beforehand, which usually leads to unrealistic expectations on my part.
Turns out, he’s crazy! Considering his history, I am amazed at how much he has progressed and how comfortable he is with life here. It also became very obvious that, regardless of his previous phobic nature, he has a very big and aggressive personality. Like the way he will viciously attack his favorite toy when he’s happy, or how he throws himself around the cage whenever it seems like I’m ignoring him! Play time with this little busy body is extremely entertaining to say the least.
It didn’t all happen overnight though, he was fearful towards me for a long time. Every “scary” sound made him panic, moving too fast sent him fluttering around the room too scared to allow me to come near him. I’ve fostered birds with more fearful behavior before him, but they weren’t as hyper. Keeping him calm was quite a challenge…still is.
Now I know a lot of people are expecting me to reveal all my little “secrets” on how I got Zaza to this point:
Well…I don’t have any! Working with Zaza came somewhat naturally (for the most part) because he chose me. Even though we have our scary “walking on egg shells” moments, he chose to trust me regardless of his past and that made everything go much smoother.
That’s why it’s so beneficial to wait for them to just LET GO, most rescued birds have some sort of sad story and that takes time to work through. They learn from their experiences, sometimes the lessons are good. Sometimes they are bad. Zaza was brave to move past what happened the way he did, others might take much longer and that’s perfectly fine. It’s about forming a healthy bond with them, one they are comfortable with, even if they choose not to interact physically.
So basically, even though Zaza is a handful and working with rescues can be challenging and, often, heartbreaking. There are very few things in life as precious as healing the broken heart of a rescued bird.