The Grey Roost
MerlinI had known for a while that my "dream bird" was an African Grey Parrot. I knew that one day, some way I would have on in my life. I had been looking to adopt one for nearly a year when I decided that I was going to look really hard. I had joined several African Grey groups to learn as much as I possibly could and by some slim chance get in touch with someone who needed to re-home their pet. A couple of opportunities presented themselves then fell through. That was when I contacted Lisa who was trying to help a woman find a good home for her Grey. That was another opportunity that had fallen through but Lisa and I had kept in contact through e-mail back and forth. I was learning about what she did and she was learning about me.
I don't remember how long it was , maybe 2 or 3 months, before she had learned of a man who wanted to sell a Grey that he had found nearly 2 years earlier. He was ready to sell the bird because he no longer had time for him and didn't feel that it was fair. Lisa and I decided that I was going to buy him no matter what and try to find his rightful owner. He wasn't banded or micro-chipped and we spent hours going through lost and found posts and came up empty every time. When my husband and I went to pick up Merlin on that beautiful day in October I had no idea how our lives were going to change. We spent nearly 2 hours visiting the family and Merlin. During that time the man told me "he's just beginning to let me touch his head". I don't know what message he was trying to send me but in my head I thought Oh my God - TWO years and he's just now letting him touch his head?!?!?! What kind of bird is this???? They sent the children out of the room when they opened his cage door. Another OH MY GOD moment. I cannot even begin to tell you how frightened I was about bringing this bird into my home with my children based on what I had witnessed with my very own eyes that day but I had secretly promised that he was going to come home with me NO MATTER WHAT. Merlin was scared, he didn't know who we were or where he was but he would soon learn that he was home safe and sound.
The days passed and we talked to him every day. We gave him treats every time we passed his cage and tried to earn his trust. He amused us on a daily basis with all the things he cared to tell us. He didn't trust us enough to come out of his cage or let us touch him. It felt like forever but one night after the kids had gone to bed I just sat beside Merlin's cage and talked to him that's when he put his head down and I took that leap of faith and reached in and pet his head. Oh my God - that was so huge for us. I sat there for at least 40 min utes just petting his head with tears in my eyes and the feeling that my heart was just going to burst. I could not believe this was happening. Night after night from then on I sat with him letting him know that I have fallen in love with this poor little lost soul that was so far away from the home that once loved him so and vowed that I would try to give him as good a life as he once had.
I really think he understood what I was telling him because day after day he became a little more comfortable with me and it showed, My husband and children were still very cautious with him but things were definately progressing. He trusted me most of all without a doubt. It wasn't long after that that he would come out of his cage and just sit on the top of his door. Every day our relationship grew stronger and stronger but I always moved at his pace and let him call all the shots.
It has been a year and a half since Merlin came into our lives and now to see Merlin fly over to my sons chair at dinner and eat off of my husbands plate it just blows my mind. Or when I'm standing in the kitchen out of his sight he'll fly into the kitchen to help me prepare a meal it jast makes my heart happy. (For safety reasons, Merlin gets put back into his cage when we are actually cooking) When I think back to when he was only here for six months and that we had made such strides in only six short months it just amazes me. And in the last six months he has stepped up for my husband and both of my children when he wouldn't step up for anyone - not even me.
Grey's have a reputation of being "one person" birds; is Merlin a one person bird - no, I don't think so. Does he have a favorite person - absolutely, but he's by no means a "one person" bird.
Some people also feel that adopting an older bird usually means they come with baggage. Sure, they do come with a history that we may never get to learn about but with patience and understanding a lot can be overcome. They may have some undesireable "habits" but sometimes we can not change everything in our worlds. That's when we need to accept the things that we have no control over and make the best of it.
I am excited to know where we will be in another year and a half but I'm willing to let Merlin drive this and see how far we go. Would I be sad if things never progressed from this point, yea a little but we've come so far and I'm happy where we are today.
I feel that I must tell you that as I sit here with paper and pen in hand Merlin has joined me in the writing efforts by chewing on the paper and chasing my pen, sitting in the middle of the paper and putting his head down as I try to write so I can pet his head.
He obviously wantes me to pay more attention to him. When they say these guys are like toddlers, they're not kidding!!! I never imagined Merlin would bring so much joy into my life. Would I ever purchase another bird from a breeder or pet shop...doubtful. There are so many unwanted birds as well as other pets just waiting for their second chance to love.