Jesse's Adoption Story - Part 1

 
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Adoption Story - Part 1
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(This is the story of how Jesse came to live with us.  Later she was adopted by the Wilhoits, the family she lives with today.)

We had talked about getting a large macaw several times.  We'd originally planned to do that when we retired, but after a while I began to think seriously about the wisdom of waiting so long - especially when what we wanted to get is a parrot whose life expectancy reaches to the 70's and maybe even 80's.  We decided not to wait until retirement, and planned to adopt in 2006.

I did considerable research and concluded that a Blue & Gold Macaw was what I wanted - and my husband Stephen agreed.

I researched breeders and decided to adopt one from a local breeder who has a wide range of birds to choose from: Hartman Aviary of Sunbury, Ohio.


June 4, 2005

June 4, 2005
We were pretty sure that we wanted a large macaw, but as part of the research, we decided to visit the aviary (they hold an open house on Saturdays during good weather months) and pay particular attention to the vocalizations (especially the volume).  Before making the final commitment, I wanted to be sure we really considered the noise, the mess, and so on.  And I knew we'd be able to meet and talk to other owners at the open house (people frequently come back to visit and bring their birds for socializing).

And so, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we went.

I won't drag this out.  We knew driving home that our hearts were stolen by 2 baby Catalina Macaws.  We'd originally talked about a Blue and Gold - and waiting a year before actually adopting one.  But on the drive home, well, we talked about it and the next day we contacted the aviary again and arranged to adopt one of the babies.

We didn't know which one would be ours at this stage.  A couple from Pennsylvania had already put down a deposit - and they wanted a male.  We didn't care about gender all that much, so we agreed to take whichever bird was left after the blood tests came back.

We live about an hour's drive from the aviary, and so each Saturday after that, we drove up and visited the two babies. 


June 4, 2005

June 11, 2005
Each week when we visited, both birds were bigger, bolder, and more feathers had grown in.  Here is Jesse (facing away) and her brother together at the beginning of "Visiting Hours".

Her brother was considerably larger, and probably a few days older than Jesse. 

I'm very grateful that we were able to go up each week and hold "our baby".  It gave us both the chance to gain confidence handling the large birds, and to ask questions of the aviary staff and the many visitors we met there.

Here's Jesse in Stephen's lap.  She was starting to be a "handful", even at this early age.  She was squirmy, wanted to flap and climb up Stephen's shirt.

Her head feathers were coming in now, and she started to display the prettiest shock of orange just above her beak.  She was so pretty and so personable, that I felt sure the other couple would want her over the other bird.


June 11, 2005

June 11, 2005
During this time, as we were waiting to find out which bird would be ours, we prepared our home for the new arrival.  We bought a nice cage from King's Cages, T-stands from eBay, toys, and perches.

On our visits to the aviary, we talked to the owner, his staff, and the other bird owners about caring for our new baby, and what to expect as she grew older.  We were allowed to observe babies being fed and learned a great deal about proper technique, formula temperatures, and so on.

It was during one of these visits that I experienced my first large-macaw "feint" (a fake attack meant to intimidate).  One of Jesse's older sisters (a 1-year old brought for a visit) took offence at my offering a hand and saying "step up".  She decided to "test me" by snarling and snapping at me.  The bird's owner and one of the staff were there, and I observed how they handled her; they refused to be intimidated and pretty much forced the bird to step up.  I wasn't that brave with her - but I'm glad to have had the experience and know what to do (which is: judge carefully the bird's body language and don't back down).

Hartman Aviary sends their babies home with the new family before they are weaned.  The folks at Hartman carefully monitor the growth and progress of each baby, and when they have grown enough to have a reliable immune system and be able to handle the change, they come home.
June 18, 2005

June 25, 2005

June 25th we arrived at the aviary to visit - and were delighted to learn that the other couple had made their choice (they adopted Jesse's brother) and that both he and Jesse were ready to come home with us!

We hadn't expected this news - and so we didn't bring anything with us to pay for the bird.  Stephen drove all the way home to get my checkbook - and back again (remember... 1 hour trip each way - I married the most wonderful man on Earth...).  And (after a hands-on lesson in syringe feeding from the aviary owner) Jesse came home with us!

My Mom (shown here) loves animals of all kinds - but it's safe to say she'd never been this close to a bird this large.  Here's Jesse pouring on the avian charm - and begging for a scritch (which Mom is obligingly supplying). 

 


July 1, 2005

July 1, 2005
Even "Grandpa" (my Dad) gives Jesse a cuddle