On 6/9/2010, Zoe passed away. She was nearly 35 year old.
Zoe was a sweet, affectionate and smart little girl. Our living room is unnaturally quiet this morning. She touched so many lives, and is deeply missed.
I'll try to update this page soon with some photos, videos and sound clips.
We've had Zoe (or she's had us) since 1976. She's a Congo African Grey parrot (a CAG).
Click on the small photos for larger views.
Here are a couple of videos:
Although CAGs are some of the best talking parrots around, Zoe doesn't like to mimic words. She has a wide variety of whistles, hoots, coos, etc., and often composes elaborate whistling songs. She does like talking gibberish with our younger son, and when she does speak, it's in a little girl voice... no squawking. I'm considering recording some of her sounds and adding the sounds to this page... stay tuned.
We call Zoe our "Chicken" because she was pretty much afraid of everyone when she was younger. She's never been afraid of children, but is cautious of most adults (and make a CAG "growling" sound that CAG owners know so well) when scared. She is absolutely sweet around me and Lauren, and she likes playing with our boys, but she is clearly the boss when the boys are around. They ply her with peanuts and treats... and she tries to grab them when they're not looking.
Sex and the single parrot
When we got Zoe, all those years ago, we asked if we could find out her/his sex. At that time, the only real option was surgical sexing. The vet did ask us an interesting question: "Why do you want to know?"
He pointed out that (unless you're attempting to breed them) knowing the sex of a parrot is really only important to another parrot... and they seem to be able to tell.
However, when Zoe laid her first (and only) egg, at the age of 20, we were reasonably assured she was a female < vbg >
After she passed the egg, we found that for the next couple of days she was squeezing and doing nesting behavior.
Taking her to our avian vet, he x-rayed her and found that she had another egg inside, and we tried a few things to get her to pass the egg, but no luck. Eventually he did a c-section to remove the rotting egg.
When she was about 22 years old, we saw a "pouch" developing near her cloacae.... we didn't know if this was an indication of her having more eggs. It turns out that she had developed a hernia, but we weren't sure what was protruding. The doctor examined her, and said we should keep an eye on it, it might just be intestinal matter that worked its way through the split.
Well, it had been getting larger (about 1/2 the size of a golf ball) and we took her back to the vet, and he said that he didn't have the facilities to properly correct the situation, and referred us to the New York Animal Center in Manhattan.
Their avian specialists did some x-rays and sonograms, and reported that they wanted to do surgery based on the results. The upshot is that it turns out that her oviducts were attached to her intestines and filled with fluid. They removed the oviducts, and this should stop the egg production (the ovaries are still in place, they cannot be removed). They also removed three yolks, and one entire rotting egg.
They kept her overnight, and she was none the worse for wear. She had no apparent discomfort, and was glad to be home. She didn't like it when we gave her the antibiotics orally, but if you didn't know she had surgery, there would be no way to tell (unless you peeked near her vent).
The saga continues
Three months later, the hernia reappeared (manifesting itself as a bulging sack near her cloacae), and she needed to go back in this week for more surgery. It turns out that there was very little muscle available for the doctor to keep the hernia closed last time, and this time they (Animal Medical Center of NY) called in a soft tissue specialist surgeon to do the job. They thought that they might have to put in some mesh, but they were able to do without it.
It's amazing just how resilient Zoe is. The next day, when we went to pick her up from the hospital, she was singing and dancing, and just being herself. She's never once complained about the three surgeries she's been through.
A playful birdZoe is pretty good at keeping herself amused. She goes through periods of quiet behavior, and then suddenly she's very interested in her toys....
She often plays what we call "bat-bird" (hanging upside down by her toes) frantically going at her toys.
Her most recent favorite game is when we let her out of the cage. She sits on the top of the cage and waits for our then 11 year old son to put her water spray bottle on the shelf that the cage sits on. She climbs down the side of the cage and tosses the bottle on the floor. Our son picks up the bottle, and puts it on the other side of the cage. Zoe climbs back up the cage, runs across the top, climbs back down and tosses the bottle on the floor again. I seem to remember my son doing the same thing from his high chair <s>
Another thing Zoe determined that she can do is get into the plastic container that holds her treats. She climbs down, checks to see if we are watching, and then removes the lid, steals a treat, and climbs back to the top of the cage to eat it. We're having a good time putting obstacles in her way (things on top of the container, etc), and see how she goes about stealing the treats.... so far, she's been pretty resourceful !
I'll update this page from time to time with more photos and stories about our littlest family member, so stay tuned.
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All text and photographs copyright © 1999 - 2016 Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.