January 18, 2024

by Daniel J. McKeown


copyright August 2009

Ava the parakeet

We got Ava several weeks after we got the other three parakeets. Jessica decided that we needed another bird so we could have more of a group dynamic in the flock–at the time Belle and Striker mainly stuck together, and Sparty mostly walked alone. And it worked–the flock now have a much broader world, and we’re all the luckier to have “Ava the Aviator,” the most impressive flyer of the the group. Ava’s flying is graceful like Belle’s but also aggressive and daring in a way that makes her a true aviation pioneer–for example, she is the only one to ever fly up to the top of a picture frame on the wall and grip on to it. Ava also led the way in landing on curtain rods and on top of kitchen cabinets, behaviors the other birds have imitated. She also has the most rare color of the group–a kind of army green that seems to be very uncommon on parakeets.
Ava is still a pretty shy bird–she is often the last to be coaxed out of the cage for playtime or a treat, and sometimes grips onto the inside of the cage. But Jessica has been doing some one-on-one work with her, and we’ve already seen some progress.
We think Ava is female, but I can’t say we’re totally sure yet. She is only the second smallest, after Belle, but she is dwarfed by the burly Striker and the big, tall Sparty. Nevertheless Ava is loath to back down in a confrontation–she’ll make “neener-neener” sounds with the best of them, and will rarely step off when someone else (usually Sparty) demands something that she wants like a good perch or a good chewing spot on a millet treat.
But most of the time Ava is a good buddy to Striker and outside the cage is a frequent flying partner with Sparty. Relations with Belle tend to be a bit cooler, but lately I’ve seen them playing and chatting a little here and there.
When it comes down to it, Ava is a valued member of the group now–for example, during a recent thunderstorm Striker, Belle and Ava all crowded together on one of their swings and leaned in close–and even Sparty was just next to them on a perch.
In terms of making our birds a well-rounded flock, Ava has been the right addition. Plus, she has a great personality which we are really just now getting to know.

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Written by Daniel J. McKeown who lives and works in Seattle watching birds. You could follow them on Substack

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