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5 baby birds
A clutch of hungry Pionus maximilianus parrots, about six weeks old.

June 13th, 2000—During yet another trip to Feathered Friends of Santa Fe, the owner tells me of this clutch of baby Pionus. Out of a clutch of five eggs, all five hatched... which was a lot more baby birds than the breeder had expected. And now, six weeks later, there they were, all huddled together in the carry crate. Well, I was strong. Really! I didn't fall for them right then and there... Butterfly & I went home and talked about it, and I thought about it for a couple of days, doing a prodigious amount of web surfing.

June 16th, 2000—Augh. I've visited the store a couple more times, and finally decided that yes... I just can't resist. The really hard part is deciding which of these five little critters is The One. Over the next few visits, I try and try to get a feel for which of them feels right... and eventually narrow it down to two... identified by their bands as #2 and #6. Yeah, there were only 5 in the clutch—the breeder ran out of #4 bands. Heh!
I get to feed 'em a time or two, too, which is nice! Fortunately I've had experience doing so before.

baby bird
baby bird
Number 6 answered...

June 26th, 2000—Well, every once in a while you have one of those moments where you have to wonder why you were doing what you were doing. Instead of trying to figure out which of them was 'The One'... I asked them the same question. For which of them was I 'The One'? And #6 answered. *happy sigh* Downpayment is made.

Downpayment? Yep. #6 is still way too young to be brought home just yet, so I go to Feathered Friends every day or so and visit. I won't be able to bring him (her?) home for several more weeks, until the number of daily hand-feedings is down to two or so. That way I can provide breakfast and dinner, and let her (him?) learn to deal with solid foods during the day.

baby bird
... and who could resist?

I'm not actually terribly concerned about #6's gender, but it sure does make telling people about him/her a little cumbersome. I think I'll probably spring for the gender-detecting blood test pretty soon. Yep - there are absolutely no sexually dimorphic features in the Pionus. You can't tell the boys from the girls without surgery or a blood test. Well... unless you're another Pionus, I guess.

And then there's the whole naming thing... but I think I'll wait until later to start worrying about that!

July 11th, 2000— Wow, my baby's growing up! It's already perching pretty confidently on fingers, and even flew around unexpectedly, when another bird had a flapping-fit. Awrk! Fortunately he landed just fine, too. Another minor bit of news is the official hatch date - May 16th, 2000. Gah, another Taurus in the family!

He'd been fed half an hour or so before I got there, and about all he wanted to do today was snuggle and sleep! I almost got a terribly cute shot of him drowsing on my finger, but he woke up just before I could, and looked pretty grumpy about the whole thing. But as soon as he was tucked back under my chin, all was good again, and he made very happy little sounds.

baby bird
"Why won't you let me sleep?"
baby bird
"Hi! I'm cute!"

You can see how fast she's growing and feathering in. I love that faint blue 'napkin' on her chest.

July 21th, 2000— Augh! Almost 10 days without seeing my baby! The big news this trip? The blood results came back - she's a she! This should help narrow down the naming possibilities, at least!

And she was just full of herself today - running all over the place, getting into absolutely everything she possibly could, and flying every chance she got! She's less than 10 weeks old, and already has her wings pretty well under control. I can tell she's gonna get into LOTS of trouble, given half a chance.

baby bird
"I think I'm gonna fly over to those toys..."
baby bird with toys!
"Mine! They're all MINE!"

August 2nd, 2000— She's definitely recognizing me now, when I come to visit! It's very heart-warming... especially today, when I went to put her back, and she very obediently stepped up onto a perch in the cage.... then immediately turned around and hopped back onto my finger! Awwwww... :)

She's really discovered toys, too. She's already picked out a couple of them that she's particularly fond of, and are obviously going to come home with us, since she runs over to play with them every single time I visit.

Notice that remarkable band of red under her tail. I took a much less flattering, and yet much more revealing shot under the tail, but in respect to her modesty, I'll refrain from showing it here.

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