ZUTAR, an African Grey Parrot
Zutar has been with Jenifer for 12 years, since he was four months old. As one of the stars of our daily show, Zuey plays basketball, sorts blocks in colors and numbers and shows his intellect by answering yes and no to questions that he understands. He is a very happy bird, which is only reiterated by the fact that he has never plucked a feather.
Little Zuey's wings were clipped too short when he came home from the bird store. The bird store operator's only purpose was to make sure he never flew, they didn't think about the fact that he would jump when he got scared and crash into his breast bone. For the first five years of his life, Zuey had five operations that stitched his belly from the top of his breast bone all the way down. During one of the operations, the vet, Dr. Don Harris, had to stitch Zutar's muscles, too. We had to give Zutar shots four times a day in his chest to make sure there was no possibility of infection. Imagining the pain that this poor little bird was in for such a long time makes you wonder how he could possibly be such a sweet, loving and gentle bird. During the last operation, Dr. Harris pulled out the little "stumps" of feathers that had been cut so short and would not fall out (for five years!) because they didn't have the weight for gravity to make them come out. After they were pulled (under anesthesia, of course), they started growing in and Zutar hasn't had a problem since. We've clipped his wings much longer and he no longer crashes into the ground on a daily basis. He still jumps when he is scared, like most greys, but he lands much more gently now.
Zutar is the reason that Jenifer decided to start teaching people how to clip their own wings with confidence and no stress. If you must clip your birds' wings, you should really be able to do it yourself, so the bird doesn't have to be stressed for this simple procedure.
We're waiting for the day when we have our flight aviary, so Zutar can fly and land when and where he wants, just like a REAL BIRD!