baby bird
Pionus maximilianus

Number Six

"What's her name", you ask? It's "Number Six"... just plain 'Six' for short. Really!

"Six? What? Why?!" Because she's the fifth out of five hatchlings, and her breeder ran out of #4 bands. So... she's Six. Anyone remember that great old british show, "The Prisoner"?

This is my first 'real' parrot... and I have the remarkable opportunity in getting to raise it from a chick. And like so many parrot owners, I'm going to inflict a diary on you. *grin*

The page was starting to get kind of large and image-heavy, so I split it up some. If you want to see the earlier page of Six before she came home, just click here. There's some really cute shots...

Click here for the latest entry.

But first, how about some useful information and links? OK!

Izzy's got a very nice page for her two Pi's—Cricket (Bronzewing) and Ernie (Dusky). There are some great pictures here!

Gizmo has a wonderful page of her own, with one of the best pictures I've ever seen, for illustrating just how wonderfully colorful these little guys can be.
Sharon (Gizmo's person) also keeps a very handy page full of links to other pionus information sources.

Toolady has a great site full of information on many different species. And if you want to save some time, here is a link directly to the pionus search. is one of the best all-around sites, I think. Lots of Pionus info here, and a really wonderful group of helpful folks at the chat board. And don't forget the Pionus FAQ!

Here is a great article from Winged Wisdom Pet Bird Magazine, talking about the Pionus personality and behavior.

Poop-ology. Yes.... Poop-ology. Wild birds will do their absolute best to conceal any illnesses they may have, and it's frequently only through their poop that you'll discover a problem early enough to do something about it. Reading this page could save your birds life.

Most people will tell you DO NOT attempt to hand feed your baby bird. However, if you must, here is a very good page with info about hand-feeding and weaning your Pionus.

Want to learn more about teaching a parrot to talk? Prepare to be amazed by this page by and about Dr. Pepperberg.

The Pionus Parrots Research Foundation web site promises to become one of the great clearing-houses for Pionus research information! And while they grow, they are absolutely one of the biggest sites for links to pet Pionus pages!

Whew. That's probably plenty of links to get you started... and several of those pages have still more links, to more links, to more links. Kinda like a WWWeb, eh? :)

So now... the diary! (turn back now, while you still can!) *grin*

Aug 11th, 2000— YAY! Six came home today! I picked her up during a late lunch, and brought her back to the office with me. Everyone was quite impressed with how sweet and beautiful she was, and she got much snuggling and adoration!

I took off a little bit early, and headed home... it was a long drive (about an hour and a half), and she made her displeasure at being so confined for so long quite evident for the first half or so, and then settled down.

She was definitely pleased to be released into her new home, and she got still more snuggles and love... but it had been a really long hard day for her, full of new and strange things... and she eventually got cranky, and demanded to be put to bed.

sleepin' bird
Oooh, outside!
"Wow... outside is big!"

August 13th, 2000— Whew! Sunday! It's been a long and nice weekend, with lots of fretting. *grin* "She's not eating! Why'd she do that? Is it too crowded in there? Not enough toys? Is she hungry? She sneezed!"

But despite it all, we lived through it. She's trimmed back a bit on her eating, and I can tell I need to get a little stand for our postal scale, so I can weigh her. Looks like she's basically weaned, and only wants a very small 'comfort' feeding in the morning and evening—just enough to reassure her that if she really needs it, she can have it. But she only eats about 5cc or so, and then turns her head away.

She really loves being on top of her cage, and would happily spend all her time there... but on the other wing... there's those toys down inside....

Sep 12th, 2000— No picture this time, the last couple I've tried really came out pretty bad, and/or boring. It's been another month, and she's doing great! Every once in a while she wants her 'bottle'—a hand-feeding of bappy food in a syringe, but it's increasingly rare... down to once or twice a week, maybe.

She's also gotten enormously more coordinated about eating her food—no more poking herself in the eye with her foot, or whatever it is she's trying to eat. *grin* She's fairly adventurous about food, but vastly prefers the seeds that aren't all that good for her (of course). Sunflower & Pumpkin are the first to go, and after that she's not real keen on any of the little stuff. I'm not completely sure she even realizes it is food! She does enjoy some of the other stuff she gets that's non-seed, too—especially red bell peppers.

Fortunately, 'adventures' have been kept to a minimum. Every once in a while she'll come tumbling down through her 'climbing tree' that I build (and re-build) over her cage, but she almost always manages to grab onto something at the last moment. The few times she's actually managed to tumble all the way down to the bottom of her cage, she's hit pretty soft, and immediately started scrambling her way back up again. She always seems quite indignant, and refuses to let anything as petty as gravity get her down!

We'll see if I can't get a decent shot of her up in her wilds sometime soon.

September 15th, 2000— Well, I promised a picture... here it is!

She really loves climbing around on just about any configuration of toys and branches I put together over her cage. And she almost never falls anymore—amazing how fast she's learned!

Oh... and speaking of branches, that's another thing she loves. That branch used to be absolutely covered with pine needles! She just adores stripping them all off. Fortunately, most of them land in her cage, but a fair number of them get flung over the side, making a big mess to clean up.

I'm a monkey!
October 15th, 2000

I want those!
"I want those!"

Butterfly came up with a delightful toy—several bits of Six's favorite foods (yams, beets, and a radish), and then hung the resulting shish-kabob in a really inconvenient location.

I'll go over here...
"Maybe from over here..."

It was really great to watch Six puzzling this whole situation out. She couldn't really reach it from the cage top, and could only barely reach it from above. So she climbed up and down her boing, experimented with trying to reach it in all kinds of amazingly acrobatic ways... she was able to catch it in her claws a couple of times, but couldn't really get a good enough grip to hold it well.

Got 'em!
"Got 'em!"

The best part was that she never seemed to be frustrated, but instead seemed delighted by the challenge. Now and then she'd get a good beakfull of one goody or the other, and came up with some really inventive ways of getting close enough.

December 25th, 2000— Wow, it has been a while since I last posted an update! Partially, I think, because Six has been settling in so very well that we're just sort of getting into the everyday. That is, until Yvonne succumbed to the Bird Bug, and brought home a bird of her own! They're still getting used to each other, and we're negotiating the introductions pretty carefully. At least it wasn't 'hate at first sight'! We try to get them both out together for 'playtime', where we set up a table with lots of toys on it for them to run around on and play.

Six is a lot more inquisitive and confident than Kiki (the galah), which led to this harmless startle. Six decided to just run up and say "Hi!", which made Kiki quite nervous, so she sort of squawked and pecked. "EEEEK!" seemed to be Six's reaction, and I managed to catch her right in mid-backwing.

Ooooh, toys!

But all was settled down again quite quickly, and they both went back to their playtime very happily, industriously throwing toys around (and especially off the playtable)... and occasionally climbing up onto a nearby shoulder to explore some particularly pleasing toy.

Bird on a swing
"It's better up here!"
January 17th, 2001

Why sit on a swing the normal way when you can climb on every other part of it except the crossbar?

Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the very best part - when she caught that green ring she's after on the right, and then somehow slipped off! Hanging only by her beak, she flapped like mad, sending the whole thing around in this great swirling circle! I was too surprised to even think about snapping a shot as I ran over to help her back up again. She recovered from the excitement quickly, and was soon right back up scrambling everywhere except the crossbar.

Bird on a swing
"Aaaaaalmost got it!"

January 23rd, 2001— It took me about three nights of trying to finally catch her in the act of yawning! It just amazes me how wide her little beak opens!

She gets very cute and poofy when it's late, looking sort of like a little green spud.

Febuary 3rd, 2001

If there's one treat this bird loves, it's oatmeal! It's our weekend treat, that she gets to hang out with us and join in for breakfast. Kiki adores it too, but never gets quite as messy as Six does!

She also gets to 'help' us with dinner sometimes, but her reaction to that varies a lot depending on just what it is. Although the messier the better seems to be the general rule.

"Is there something on my beak?"

June 7th, 2001— WAY too long without an update, I realize! I guess that's what happens when you start getting used to having the little things around... and you start getting bad about not taking pictures. Not to mention the fact that I post a lot of the little adventures to the Pi chat board at Up At Six.
But here's something that happened recently...

Did you get my good side?
"Did you get my good side?"

We do a lot of greyhound fostering work, and one of our Big Adventures involved one of these sweet, wonderful dogs. This particular boy we hadn't had for terribly long, and we were still working with him about how off-limits the birds were: completely!. Well, Six had climbed up on my head (again!), and I reached up to take her off (again!), when she decided not to allow that, and took off flying. Well, in the space of about two heartbeats, the greyhound had surged up off the floor and lunged at where this little flapping thing was... Six hit the ground and skidded up underneath him, and both people were out of their chairs and grabbing the dog! Yipes! If she had been a better flyer (or unclipped), he would have snapped her right out of the air. I doubt seriously that he actively wanted to hurt her, but the instincts to catch something moving were just too strong. The dog was very chagrined afterwards, and spent quite a while looking remorseful. Six, however, started puffing and wheezing like crazy every time he got within about six feet of her, after that!

December 16th, 2001

Yes, yes... it's been an awfully long time since the last update! But that could be because things have been wonderfully uneventful!

Our second Christmas season together! The first one obviously didn't make too much of an impact, as both of the birds were very suspicious of the tree, at first. But after half an hour or so, Six got brave enough to climb up into the lower branches. I suspect by tomorrow we'll have to keep them away from it, or we'll have nothing but a de-barked trunk, with a pile of chewed-up leaves at it's base!

La la laaaa!
"La la laaaa!"

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