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Louie the Laugher

Meet Louie, a 9 year old male Yellow Naped Amazon, an original sugarbaby! If you’ve been in the store, you have HEARD Louie, whether you’ve met him or not He is a literal non-stop talker. I can’t even keep track of his vocabulary count because he’s constantly saying new things and things I can’t always understand. Louie was a baby that we hand raised and sold in the store, though he was bred by a friend of ours down in Florida. He found a nice family, but as he got older and more brazen with his beak, they became very shy of handling him. He unfortunately got to a point where he was not let out of the cage out of fear of getting bitten. The family was talking about Louie to a co-worker, who happens to be a great customer and friend, and she offered to take Louie on to try and work with him into being hand tamed again. Louie went to her at about 5 years old. Louie is an extremely unpredictable bird, as many male Amazons are, and when he dislikes someone, he holds a grudge. Unfortunately this was the case with his rescuer and as much as she tried, he just wouldn’t come around to even tolerating her. She asked if we would take him back on about 2 years ago and I happily obliged. We have tried a few different routes with Louie to see what he would thrive with. For a short time he was paired up with a female Yellow Nape and while they get along for the most part, they were not a good match and we separated them back into being pets.

For a long time I thought we would adopt Louie out, but his extremely unpredictable behavior was a huge concern for me. I know so many people get these difficult birds with the best intentions, saying that no matter how difficult they are, they will keep them forever and work around it. But I know better. After a few months of tons of bloody bites, tired of the screaming and noise, and cleaning up after them, they send them off to the next person who is even more unprepared and the cycle continues. Birds like Louie often find themselves placed in 10+ homes in their life span. I don’t want that for any bird, but especially him, since he is special to me. Louie and I get along for the most part. When we first tried him out in our breeding program he would always get very excited when I came in to feed in the morning. He would run to the side of the cage and pin his eyes, fan the tail, all the typical signs that an Amazon is E-X-C-I-T-E-D . This can mean, "hey I’m excited to see you and I’m happy” or “I’m ready to bite the crap out of you if you come near me” . I would slowly and quietly approach him and pet his foot through the bars. I know a lot of tricks these guys like to use, so I’m cautious that they don’t grab onto my fingers, because usually a bite is quick to follow. After several days of doing this light stroke on his foot, I let my guard down and he grabbed onto my hand and let out, clear as day, “Thank you for holding my hand” It was one of those moments that I stepped back, dumbfounded, like “Am I being pranked?” What is happening? LOL When I asked his previous owner about it, she told me she had said that to him every time he was good and he quickly picked it up. I had no idea he knew that and thought I was losing my mind in that moment. Since he’s been moved into the store, Louie continues to say that as it’s our favorite way to greet each other in the morning. He also loves to say in a rather southern accent “How ya doing honey? Good? Ok, love you”. The list is never ending! My favorites are when he does a nice step back into his cage he congratulates himself “Oh that’s a good boy, GOOOOOOOD job” He is so animated and over exaggerates his voice, you can’t get mad at him when he is naughty. This past year we were able to purchase his parents from our friend down in Florida when she retired and I say that his talking has to be genetic. Those two are some of the most talkative, beautiful, and big Yellow Napes we’ve ever had. Louie gets it honestly from them!

We have been slowly working together for the last 8 months or so, and while I’ll never fully trust him, we have a pretty good relationship together and I do my best to get him out in the walk-in aviary inside or the outside aviary if no one is around. Make sure to come say hi to Louie, or at least *try* to get a word in over his chatter box routine he will show you.

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