Fluff your feathers

Ever have days when you get so frustrated with life you could tear your hair out? Thank goodness, most people who use that expression don’t usually follow through with it. (Ouch!) But some birds can actually respond in a similar way by pulling out their own feathers when they’re upset. Feather plucking can be caused by a number of factors--stress or loneliness, for example.

102406shaka EM(Pictured left, Shaka before) It doesn’t always make sense, and can be very discouraging to watch. A bird can seem to recover, and then overnight pull out all the new feather growth. But then there are those birds who do make and maintain progress. Shaka came to Best Friends about as plucked as a bird can be. It’s hard to guess why she picked so severely. Perhaps because her recent family traveled a lot, or maybe she didn’t like her cage, or her favorite baseball team was on a hard-core losing streak. Whatever the reason, she looked nothing like an African grey parrot.

Maybe there’s something in the air in Kanab—home of the sanctuary—or maybe her baseball team starting winning a few games, but since coming to Best Friends, Shaka has started growing feathers again. She now has her red tail, all her flight feathers, and even some new feathers on her back. Progress is slow but steady. Go, Shaka!

She’s such a funny bird that it’s easy to root for her. Shaka likes to head-bob while strutting around on her perch, and she’ll occasionally stand up on one leg and wave with the other. She has this way about her that makes people smile whenever they wander into her room. And with all her new feathers, here’s hoping that Shaka is smiling, too.

Written by David Dickson. Photos by Molly Wald.

 

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Feather plucking parrot gets fresh start