Meet Ernie

Ernie, just… you know… hanging around.

Ernie is a 13 year old Bronze Winged Pionus who came to me in August 2010.  He’s the only bird I’ve gotten who kept his old name, because he came from a family who loved him but couldn’t take care of him anymore, and he *loves* his name.  He says, “HI ERNIE!” all the time, which is super cute.

However, he came to me with some inconvenient issues–such as flying at and attacking people’s faces when he would get nervous (he nailed me twice and three of my friends at various points), and making a loud, shrill smoke alarm noise for hours on end.  Getting him on a better diet and teaching him how to forage and bathe certainly helped, but it also took several months of training to teach him to use different noises and to not try to attack everyone who came within three feet of him.

Eventually, however, he came around.  He now craves attention and loves to dance to music, often keeping time by tapping his beak against the cage bars.  We have a lot of fun singing and dancing together.  He has also become quite proficient at figuring out foraging toys, and loves to utterly destroy them in his search for every last morsel of food.  Calling him thorough would be an understatement.  🙂

He also LOVES head scritches.  If I crook my index finger and wiggle it a bit and ask him, “Ernie, do you want scritches?”, he’ll scratch his head first, as if to show me how to do it, then he fluffs up his head feathers and tilts his head towards me to be scritched.  It’s insanely adorable, and every time he does it (which is so often that his feathers on that part of his head always look a bit bedraggled) I just want to pick him up and squeeze him!  We’re not there yet in the trust department, though.  🙂

He didn’t make any loud and obnoxious noises for about a year, but then I got Archie, who came with some really annoying inappropriate vocalizations, so for the first couple of months Ernie had regressed a bit in that department.  Fortunately, he re-learned the more acceptable noises more quickly the second time around, and now he only makes those noises at dinner time when he wants me to know that he’s ready to eat.  However, he’s a sweet, albeit diffident, little dude, and we’ve developed quite the bond.  You can tell how much he wants to please you and be a good boy; he’s just still a little bit anxious as to how to do that.  Fortunately, he’s gradually getting calmer and more confident all the time!

Ernie’s favorite things are eating, destroying foraging toys, and dancing to music.  He also enjoys riding around the house on my shoulder and getting scritches from me.

About Emily Strong

behavior consultant. veterinary technician. crazy parrot lady. lifelong animal lover. cellist. yogi. hula hooper. horse rider. swimmer. singer. reader. writer. dreamer. music lover. amateur gardener. nutrition enthusiast. eternal student. language lover. aspiring polyglot. tattoo canvas. water drinker. overthinker. bountiful laugher. overenthusiast. attention deficit meditator.
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