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I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post some pictures, but here’s my green cheek conure, Coquí!



Even before I got the bird, people asked me what I intended to name it, but I’m one of those people who believe that names reveal themselves. I was originally thinking “Uffizi” or “Chickadee” because I am of the firm opinion that a bird’s name should be fun to say.

Then the bird came home and began… croaking. Soft little frog sounds. I couldn’t call her Froggie, but then I remembered that my grandmother loves the little coquís. Even though my bird is much quieter than a coquí frog, Coquí she is!

I went through a whole host of name possibilities with my sister, and she said “those all sound like nicknames.” “I can’t name the bird Sir Birdington of Avianhamshire!” “Why not?”

I admit, she made a compelling point. My bird should be landed and properly titled.

Coquí still makes those little frog sounds, but she’s been adding more to her repertoire: a buzzing fart noise, a wide assortment of grumbles, and tiny “skree!” cries, especially when she’s getting rough. I haven’t heard a lot of the sounds I hear from green cheeks on youtube, but that may come with time. Or not, she lives in a relatively quiet house and gets the most response to her croaks (because they’re so cute). She’s still a baby, so every day is some new behavior.

Which… often causes me to wig out. I did a lot–possibly too much–research on parrots before I decided to get one, so I’m often on the lookout for behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud. “Is this aggressive, or is she playing?” is something I ask myself at least daily, because green cheeks have three settings:

1) Cuddly
2) Hungry
3) FIGHT ME

All these settings may exist simultaneously. I have learned that FIGHT ME means “play with me!” because she’s a bit of a rough and tumble bird. I learned that none of her behaviors are aggressive but she is occasionally giving me a bit of sass. I have seen advice that says never ever ever let a bird engage in any sort of aggressive behavior because it will grow up thinking it’s dominant,* but this is just the bird trying to entice me to play (according to the vet). This lesson was driven home because after a little too much strutting around the keyboard, she’d start regurgitating.

“No way, bird, you’re 3 months old, you are not trying to mate with me.” So I called the vet to find out what could possibly be happening. That could be head bobbing, maybe she’s hungry, bring her in to get weighed! I spent the day fretting that I was starving my bird, and when I went to the vet the diagnosis was in: birds are weird, and she likes me lots. Diagnosis proven because a few days later, the head bobbing resulted in successfully bringing food up from her crop.

Remember this post with the adorable baby green cheeks?

“Does my bird like me that much?” I wondered.
Coquí: *barf * I saved u dis cheerio. I earned it for being good at step ups.

Thank you, Baron Coquí. For being cute, less so for the chewed up cheerios.

*There’s a lot out there about parrots and dominance theory, which seems to be mostly bullshit.

**For those interested in a few more pictures, I have them on the tumblr post here.

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damselfish

September 2015

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