In loving memory of Amos, the African Grey Parrot
On this day, November 17th, 2020, we lost our little buddy of 26 years. It’s taken me a year to write this because he’s been so missed, and our hearts have still not healed. I’m sure you all can relate to losing a feathered, furry, or scaly loved one. To most of us, they aren’t just pets, they’re family.
If you’ve never had a parrot come through your life, you may be missing out on something special. While they are not meant for everyone, they are the perfect fit for me. Parrots, no matter how big or small, are incredibly smart creatures. This was especially true for Amos! He had a huge vocabulary and could learn a new word or sound in a day.
While he called my sons by their names, he called me “Bubba” most of the time. I have no idea where he picked that one up. Maybe the TV? This Congo Grey loved his television set.
The Great Outdoors
Amos loved being outside. What bird wouldn’t? When the weather permitted, we would bring him out onto the patio with us. Amos would chatter away with the other birds that were hanging around. He’d often receive a few chipmunk visitors begging for a treat or two. While they’d scurry near his cage, Amos would call at them, ” kitty, kitty!”. That was pretty much his preferred word for any critter that came around.
The Run OF The House
When we were home, Mr. Parrot was out of his house, and he surely had the run of it, too. About the only time he was in his cage was to get a drink, snack, or to take a nap. I installed a heated perch in his house so if he got chilly, up on it he’d go.
That funny little ball of feathers loved hanging out in the kitchen with us, where he was often spoiled with all kinds treats. His favorites included cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, cooked eggs, and chicken with the bone. Once in a while we’d give him a special pizza treat. His favorite was pepperoni.
I do not recommend feeding your parrot pizza or other types of human food. They need a good diet of fruits and veggies with some proteins, like mealworms, as they do eat bugs in the wild. Giving them lots of unhealthy snacks can lead to a fatty liver and other issues. Also, avoid any chocolate, onions, and all seed diets. Read up on their diet as much as you can, and make sure your flappy pal is getting balanced and healthy meals.
His Favorite Time Of The Year
Amos the sassy grey loved Christmas time. He was always involved in opening gifts, even if they weren’t his. Yes, he got his very own to rip apart, but he always wanted to help open yours first.
The funny thing is, he never bothered the presents that we’d set under the tree leading up to Christmas day. Once he new it was time to open them, he’d climb down off his cage and help out. What a smart little guy he was.
There’s nothing funnier than watching a Grey ripping through that paper to get to his new toys. He was like a little kid in a candy store, eyes wide open, going from one glorious treat to the other, not even stopping to examine each one.
It didn’t matter if it was Christmas or a birthday, if it included opening gifts, he was thrilled to help.
Parrot’s Christmas Tree
When our little buddy suddenly passed away in the cold early morning hours on November 17th, It was one of the most painful things we have ever experienced. He passed away in my son’s hands. I was so grateful Amos was home with us and not in a pet hospital where we may not have been able to be with him in his final hours.
Amos was like a child to us. He would literally have a conversation with you, always with an answer no matter what you asked him. He knew our emotions so well. If you were happy, he was happy, singing, and being sassy. If you were sad or grumpy, he’d be the same. He knew us by the back of his feathers.
Speaking of feathers, I always saved them, hoping to make something with them. He didn’t drop his red tail feathers very often. When he did, they were like special little gems to me.
When December 2020 came along, we had no Christmas spirit in us. I didn’t even have the desire to put up a Christmas tree. Some how I got the idea to use Amos’s house as our “tree”. I decorated it with lights and red bows. My mom and brother gave us the beautiful poinsettia plant. Thanks so much.
But there was still something missing. One day, my son Hunter gave me an early Christmas gift. To my surprise, they were the little decorative Christmas themed birds in the above photo. How sweet and perfect was that! So from that moment on I have been collecting those little birds. We will continue adding more of them to Parrot’s house for 2021’s Christmas.
If you’re interested in those decorative birds, they can be ordered here, but they sell out quickly. I’ve also began collecting the little matching bird ornaments to hang on my kitchen Christmas tree with red and white lights in honor of our buddy.
Hitching A Ride
After a busy day of chewing apart his favorite homemade toy, Amos the African Grey would hitch a ride on his pal Hunter’s slipper for a short walk about.
Amos was really never to much into flying around the house. Instead, he usually chose to just walk around. One day he decided to hide underneath the treadmill. This turned into one of his favorite “forts”. He had this thing where he would he would take long naps under there. So, before anyone could go for a walk on the treadmill, they had to check for Mr. Sassy Pants to make sure he wasn’t hiding under there.
Oh how he would sing while the treadmill was running. He loved opera music, and sometimes he’d belt out a few good tunes. Bouncing up and down, he would dance and sing with excitement while he watched us exercise.
Hanging Out Together
When the kids or I were home, Amos was always around us, either following us around on the floor, or perched on his favorite stand. No matter where we went in the house he usually went with someone. He loved hanging out in my work room while I was working on my crafts or on the computer, copying every sound he heard. Nothing got passed him!
Now, this stand of his was so worn out, I ended up buying him a new one to try out. But, for the life of me, he refused to perch on it. No matter what I tried, he just would not accept his new stand.
Greys are very finicky and shy when it comes to new things in their environment. You have to introduce things to them slowly for them to become accustomed to them. Sometimes it can take up to a year for greys to get used to new objects.
Well, he never did take a liking to his new stand. So, I turned it into a plant stand, and he was quit happy with that.
Knew Our Routines
Amos the African Grey knew our routines better than we knew them ourselves. He’d predict every sound you’d make going around the house and he’d make it before you did. If you were walking down the hallway about to close a door, heading into the kitchen to open a cabinet, or even getting a drink of water, he’d have his version of these sound effects ready to go.
He also knew when you were going to leave the house. He would make his funny version of the motions of zipping up a coat and then make a zipper noise and say, “good bye!”. Depending on who he was talking to, he would use my voice or one of my sons’ voices.
When it was bed time he always got a nice snack and fresh water plus a good nighty night talking to. He had a special blue blanket that originally belonged to one of my sons that we covered him up with so he felt safe. It kept him from night frights or anything that may scare him, so he wouldn’t fall off his perch and get hurt. It also helped keep him warm in the cold winter months.
Amos, we miss you so much, little buddy. There’s so much I could share about your life. You were and still are an amazing parrot. You were more than just a pet, you were family. Twenty six years is a long time, but there should have been many more together with us. Every day our heart breaks for you, but I know you’re in a wonderful and beautiful place where you are free to fly. We love you little buddy.