Bird Brain!


Barin, a Mitred Conure, has a big mouth. He has had a big mouth for 25 years and it finally got him the boot. One of them had to go, and it wasnt going to be the owner. So Barin sits at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, waiting for the right owner to come and take him home.

Conures are small to medium-sized parrots, very friendly, talkative, and popular because they are so beautiful and usually very intelligent. Barin has excellent diction when he goes through his repertoire. He demonstrated:  Goodbye, hello, hello, Ok, Ok, Ok, good boy, bad boy, cock-a-doodle, woof-woof” and “meow.

He is loud and set in his ways, but for one special family, he a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Chico is a 20-year old red-headed Conure who was given up for adoption because his family could not take him when they moved.  He was in the same family for 16 years. When his owners died, the neighbors took him and now he needs another home.

Chico is less articulate than Barin. He garbles his words, but he makes up for that by having a great sense of humor. While I was visiting, he and Barin, in the next cage, got into a mock screaming argument that soon dissolved into laughter. Both of these guys laugh a lot.

I asked my pal David Stephenson, owner of M2Bird Sitters, if he has any Alexandria clients that we could talk to about living with parrots. He introduced me to Kathy Quellen, a former client who now is also a bird sitter. Kathy owns nine birds, including three Conures. Two of them, Oscar and Neile, are 18 years old. They are little clown birds with high energy and they can be very loud, Kathy said.

Birds are a long-term investment, Kathy told me and things change in peoples lives. They get divorced, become handicapped, or get sick and the birds wind up homeless. She told me that many bird owners, realizing that their birds may outlive them, create a legacy in their wills to provide for their feathered friends.

If you are interested in welcoming a parrot into your life, you will want to make sure that it is a domestically-bred, handfed baby. When you buy a bird without knowing where it came from, you may be purchasing a wild-caught, illegally obtained bird. Many of the wild species of parrots are becoming scarce and some are on the brink of extinction.

Parrots are very smart, funny and may have a large, varied vocabulary, depending on what you say when you are in their presence, if you get my drift.

Conures can live a long, long time, so you are looking at a very long relationship. If Chico and Barin are representative Conures, Id like to have one in my family.

For more information about Chico and Barin, as well as some adorable little budgies, please visit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria or look up them up at

Well, Im outta space. Keep your tail high and your feet dry.