So we made in time. On the first day of Christmas… oops I mean on the first day of the school holidays, I put a change request in to shift my mid morning meeting even later. So before I got a response, we set off “parrot gathering”.
We set off at 9:00 with a coffee for the road, a long shopping list, high hopes but fairly low expectations. We went to the place once before just to have a look-around and gather some information, and I phoned them a few days before, but it’s a bit of a hit and miss thing – it all depends what they have in stock at the time. The simple virus as well as the fact that it is now late in breeding season didn’t help either – the breeders’ breeding pairs are still busy nursing their young, and the young ones aren’t really ready to be released yet.
So we arrived at the Victorian Bird Company just as they opened. It was a bit weird at first – we just stood there while they took care of cleaning cages and feeding birds and what not. I was a bit stressed, what if they don’t move the meeting and we take forever to get this done? We did have an extensive list…
Anyway, we finally got Jeff’s undivided attention (well, sort-of, there’s always a lot going on it seems, which is a good sign I think.) The conversation was a bit stilted at first until we both understood what we were after. Then he turned into the most helpful and informative bird bloke I’ve ever come across. So we talked about hand-reared birds vs aviary birds, old vs young birds, sexing birds, feeding, breeding, cross-breeding, taming and a million other related things. We left there with a ton of information and a massive pile of birds, nest boxes, food, toys (of course the artistic director had a good motivation for every conceivable toy on the shelf – and they have lots!) Jeff even threw in some nuts and a bunch of additional feeders on the deal. Carefully we set off on the 30 minute drive back home, our precious cargo making small squeaky noises… On the way back we decided that VBC is the A&B of bird stores – that one will a take bit of insight into the music side of our lives to understand – but suffice to say it’s the highest level of accolade which makes that you think that place is your go-to for all things related.
We arrived back home with a few minutes to spare before the proposed postponed meeting start time. Luckily I saw that they complied and moved said meeting to 11 Jan! So we could relax, release the birds and get them settled. Of course, the new young bird owner had to make a big thing of it first. He pretended to his mom, sister and one of her friends that we only got one pair of birds. So while he was releasing the two “stars”, we stealthily got the others and started releasing them as well. What a colour cascade – 11 birds in total! So what did we get?
Of course any aviary has to have budgies. So we got 2 young males, George and yet-to-be named, and two young females Jumpy and Sandy.
Initially we said we were only going to get crimson neophemas, or not at all, but we ended up with two very different ones – an adult female and a super-young little male, who had just arrived in the shop. Apparently young Rico is now “my” bird.
We initially thought we would get two pairs, one white and one grey, but we ended up with an adolescent pair of pearls (still to be named) and a very young hand-reared female, which the new young bird-man identified as his special bird, and named her Pokey. He’s been enjoying quite a bit of time with Pokey.
Named after princess Alexandra, cobalt blue princesses were top and foremost on our list. The new young bird man has been talking about “Cobalts” non-stop since the aviary project started. Jeff had a beautiful young male in his display cages, as well as two lime-coloured ones. What? No pair? While we were still talking amongst ourselves, he slipped out to an aviary they must have at the back and came back with a beautiful young female too. They are wild aviary birds, but they are the most beautiful birds to see flying around – and they love flying! Meet Itch and Patch. They’ve never seen each other before, but they’ve taken an instant liking to each other. Itch is a very busy restless bird – dancing and flying all over the place.
At the last minute we added a small bench to the back of the aviary. It’s so peaceful and fascinating to sit there and watch and interact with the birds. No doubt there will be many small parrot stories in the future…