These exotic pet birds have personality and attitude
Ivy Davis and Ivan, her green-cheeked conure parrot, are like two peas in a pod.
Ivan has been a fixture in Davis’ life since September 2015 and she calls him her “best buddy.”
“He’s very loving, and has a lot of personality,” Davis said. “He’s also very affectionate, loves to cuddle and loves to be groomed, too.”
Davis, 45, was born in Mobile, Alabama, and lives in League City. She grew up in Galveston and has always been fond of birds, she said.
“I have always loved birds and have found that parrots are more like humans than one would think,” Davis said. “Ivan, who loves being outside, is a bit of a diva when he becomes overheated, so I have to keep a mist fan with me at all times to keep him cool — just like some humans do. It’s comical.”
Ivan, who is 3 years old, was born at an aviation store in Florida. When he hears the rap song “Cut It,” he’ll sing and dance, Davis said. He also loves to eat yogurt, watermelon and egg whites — just like her.
“He will take a bite out of your food if you don’t watch your plate,” Davis said.
Ivan is on Davis’ shoulder most of the time when they’re home, she said. Their personalities click for the most part, but Ivan can, and does, get an attitude when he doesn’t get his way, she said.
“When he wants to do something that I don’t want him to do, it almost always ends in an argument,” Davis said. “He will argue with you, and believe it or not, we know what the other is saying or means. Ivan is stubborn, so he’ll continue to argue with you until he gets his way.”
But the pros, including Ivan being such a great companion, loving and funny, definitely outweigh the cons, Davis said. The cons include Ivan chewing up lots of toys, clothes, phone chargers, books, paper, furniture, fingers and toes and more. But that doesn’t detract from Davis’ love for her parrot.
“Needless to say, I’ve replaced plenty of clothing and phone chargers,” Davis said. “It makes me feel good when he’s happy to see me — even if I leave the room and come back a few minutes later. He is my best friend.”
Phydias the hotel greeter
If you’ve ever had an opportunity to visit The San Luis Hotel in Galveston, more than likely you’ve had a chance to see its resident parrot, Phydias (pronounced Fidd-e-us).
Phydias is a male blue and yellow macaw originally from South America.
He’s been living at the hotel since 1991, and enjoys socializing daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in his lobby cage, his handlers at The San Luis said.
“Phydias has been a favorite member of The San Luis family for more than 27 years,” said Paul Schultz, vice president of hospitality. “He is very animated and boasts a vibrant personality. Our guests love interacting with him.”
Every six months, the 17-inch parrot sheds his longest tail feather to regenerate a new one. He’s playful, animated, curious and often will say “Hello,” or “Bye-Bye,” to patrons frequenting the hotel, his handlers say.
But, beware: If you don’t want Phydias to become “nippy,” don’t pull his feathers or feed him.
Mercedes and Camelot
In April 2003, Mercedes Perez bought a Moluccan cockatoo in the Philippines she would name Camelot.
When Camelot hatched, she had no feathers, only a huge beak and beautiful black eyes, Perez said. Camelot’s species was put on the endangered list in 2008, she said.
“Because she is a wild animal, I had to bond with her in those early stages by visiting with her twice a week,” Perez said. “She was very young when I brought her home four months later, but she was already a beautiful baby bird looking very much like she does now.”
Perez, who lives in Houston and also has a Galveston home, considers her relationship with Camelot as a “give-and-take” courtship, much like marriage, she said.
“There is no unconditional love with birds,” Perez said. “I’m her partner. She gets mad at me and screams, and if I scream back, she will always scream louder than me. Out of all cockatoos, the Moluccan is the one that has the worst temper. She can die if she gets terribly mad, so I try my best not to take her there. I have a wonderful exotic bird. I adore her, and she adores me.”
Camelot, who speaks Spanish and English, always says hello the minute Perez enters her home, Perez said.
“When I’m in the room, her eyes will never move away from me,” Perez said. “If she lives to be 65 years old and outlives me, I worry about her life after me because her presence is very imposing and everyone is afraid of her. So, I tend to worry a lot about who’s going to take care of my wonderful bird if I should go before her.”
Boasting a bright orange crest inside of her wings with a bright yellow tail and soft peach feathers, Camelot holds a special place in Perez’s heart, she said.
Camelot also travels to the island often, and is the showcase of both homes. She has a cage in the kitchen cabinets in the Houston home and a cage in the garden in the Galveston home.
“Although she is loving, I never know how she will react to a person she doesn’t know,” Perez said. “She’s absolutely gorgeous and I can’t imagine my life without her.”