Clairice “Claire” is a Blue and Gold Macaw hatched in Arizona in 2004. We don’t have much information about the first year of her life, but know that she was purchased by a young man from a pet store in San Bernadino in 2005. In 2012, the young man passed away in a tragic accident leaving Claire, then known as Boogie, to his family to care for.
The family didn’t know much about macaws, but kept her on a regular routine of feeding and outdoor time. Because parrots are complex, intelligent and emotional creatures, without establishing trust, understanding, comfortable environment and proper diet, they can be aggressive and difficult to care for, which the family and neighbors found to be true.
In 2013, the young man’s step-father fell ill and the family was advised that the dust created by Claire’s preening was detrimental to his pneumonia. They found me through a friend because I had recently raised a pigeon. They asked if I could take care of her while the step-father was in recovery. I agreed and dove into a crash course in caring for a frightened, biting, screaming macaw in my home.
In my research, I learned that her diet was too high in fat and sugar, causing behavioral problems. I came to understand that she prefers quiet, safe places rather than the middle of a family room. She enjoys socializing in the company of her person (me) and avian friends. Her personality is reserved and she has a sense of humor. She is also kind, caring, opinionated and an effective negotiator. Claire and I bonded.
In time, the step-father passed away and the family was ready to let go. With the help of my friend, we made arrangements for me to keep her.
There are some things about Claire’s past that emerge in deep seeded fears about white trucks, bald people, long white t-shirts with baggy jeans and tough-looking men. For awhile, she was afraid of any man in a uniform, whether it be karate, police, waiter, delivery, construction, plumber or costume. By comforting her when she is upset and reminding her that she is safe with me, we overcame most of the uniform issues. But she can’t seem to move past white trucks, bald people, long white t-shirts with baggy jeans and tough-looking men.
She came from a neighborhood in San Pedro near the Port of Los Angeles, which is a mixed community with a predominant Hispanic population. There were several home invasions during which she scared the intruders with her roaring and repetitive eminent danger call. Additionally, the brother of the young man who owned her, was the primary provider in home where she lived. He was bald, often wore t-shirts with jeans and drove a white truck because he was a plumber. Although I only knew him to be a quiet and kind man, he delivered Claire to me in his white truck. I often wonder if she fears someone is coming to take her away.
I also wonder if some of those memories are related to her transport from Arizona to California. At the time that she hatched, there were rampant bird thefts from breeders in that area. I haven’t been able to find the breeder, as many of the facilities were closed. However, I think she may have been blonde and beautiful because Claire’s heart leaps with intrigue when she meets blonde women. She wiggles with excitement and practically climbs over me when she sees my blonde and beautiful friend, who happens to love her too.
She also likes kind Mexican people, as the wife of the plumber and her family of origin were from Mexico. In her shyness, she often whispers kisses to me when they greet us.
We currently live in Oxnard, CA.
If you scroll down the blog posts, you will see entries from my experience raising Randy the Pigeon. There are some children’s stories included. Enjoy!