April 08, 2012

Decisions, decisions!

Since my girlfriend moved from the States to the Netherlands, we've been thinking about getting a companion pet. My girlfriend has had pets all her life, from fish to horses and everything in between, and when I was a kid, we had turtles and more.

Darwin, one of the 'Bubbleheads'
Birds have always had a special place in our hearts, even more so since we got the 2 budgies last year, that we affectionately call the 'Bubbleheads'. In all honesty, they're worth a whole new blog. I'll tell you more about them later.

For our 'family expansion', at first we were looking at Parrotlets, Cockatiels, Greencheeks, Caiques and many more types of smaller parrot-kin. Especially the Caiques got our attention and we were seriously looking for them, but quickly found out that they're quite hard to find in the Netherlands.

At some point in September '11, we went to this huge bird fair. We were amazed and disappointed at the same time. We've never seen so many different kinds of birds in one place, but the quality got lost in the huge quantity. We did almost get 3 Caiques that we came across, about the only ones there, but in the end decided against it. We weren't quite ready to 'settle' on the Caiques.

We were frustrated, tired, upset and disappointed. We were letting out our frustration and then it hit us. Whatever bird was on our list, would still be an intermediate step. As we were on the way home, we had one of those moments where we both said the same thing at the same time: African Grey!

From that moment on, our research changed completely. We ritually burned our old list (as a figure of speech), and started a new one. African Grey at the top, soon followed by Galah, Amazon, Cockatoo, etc. We discovered about the many character traits and pros/cons of the various birds, and made the Timneh African Grey our top priority. More frustration! Nowhere to find, at least not in the Netherlands. And we're not the kind of people that drive 4 to 5 hours to another country on a whim.

It was early November when we had our epiphany moment. My girlfriend was doing her usual information gathering, when she re-discovered the majestic Eclectus. Of course she knew those, but also was under the assumption that this type of bird was completely out of our league, mostly price-wise. Back in the old days in the USA, this bird was as expensive as a Hiacynth Macaw. Turns out they're not like that at all anymore, and even better: those incredibly beautiful birds are pretty easy to find around here.

The most important reason that made us decide on the Eclectus, after gathering loads of information, is the fact that they're such easy birds, especially in social situations. They're not one-person birds! They'll love anyone and everyone, as long as they're treated right. And that we swore to do, of course.

The fact that their feathers are oil-based, was an additional advantage. As opposed to Greys, who will put a nice thick layer of dust on everything in the house within days. There were some other facts as well, that confirmed our choice for the Eclectus.

After this point, which we reached in october/november, it all went pretty smoothly. We looked online, we called pet stores, we re-visited our favorite ones a few times, got to talk to the owners of a few, and got introduced to a very reputable breeder. Picking the right breeder is a completely different story all together and we'll go into that another time. The same goes for the decision of male or female. That's a whole different show.

And as of now, that we've had Vinny for a month. We have no regrets whatsoever, even after experiencing various kinds of parrots, for example at the local parrot rescue and re-visiting our old research. We're very happy that we decided on the Eclectus, and we're extremely happy with Vinny.