As I continued to make my rounds meeting old and new friends at the Sanctuary during All-Staff Week, I had to stop by Parrot Garden to see my friend Jeb Stuart. I hadn’t seen him in two years, which was even before he was selected to be one of the featured special-needs animals on the website. So this reunion was all the more special.
However, even after waiting two years, I had to wait just a little longer to get up close and personal. When I arrived, the Parrot Garden staff was having a meeting. So I headed over to Jeb’s area for the opportunity to spend some extra time with him. I sat outside his cage and he sat on his perch while I talked to him and he listened.
Though I have to say, Jeb had some stiff competition on either side. To his left, King O did everything in his power to steal my attention, including but not limited to repeated uttering “Ha ha” (in the style of Nelson from “The Simpsons”) and catcall whistles. Then there was Cody on the right, who made clicking noises and kept saying, “Hello,” each time with a new and endearing head tilt.
Yet Jeb remained silent and dignified, though we did exchange some head bobs.
Waiting for the meeting to end allowed me to really look at Jeb and for the first time. I noticed that the edges of his head feathers were a lighter shade of grey. You know, humans pay good money to get gorgeous highlights like that, and he just comes by it naturally.
After about an hour, the meeting let out and caregiver Lisa came over so that Jeb and I could finally meet without his cage between us. It was obvious the two of them had a special connection. Lisa held him and repeatedly scratched the top of his head. Jeb even solicited head scratches from her. I don’t know if we formed a little connection while I waited, or if he just took pity on me, but Jeb not only allowed me to hold him, but even to scratch his head. Mind you, parrots can be very picky about who they trust to touch them, so I was really honored.
I have to say, it was truly worth the wait.