Guest Author - Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Cooper
We don't know much about Sunee's history except that at one time he was a breeder, and he and his mate got sick at the same time, and she died.
His former owner has been less than forthcoming about what happened to them....... I have begged and pleaded for anything, even the name of the vet that saved him, and gotten nothing from her except a bunch of excuse, a lot of BS, and a lot of headaches. It makes me wonder what she has to hide.......The former owner is a piece of work, let me tell you!
My vet thinks that Sunee stroked at some point, and he does have some neurological damage (he has a head swinging tic and a few other problems) but he is so far out from the original illness that there is nothing we can do for him except keep him comfortable and give him the best life possible for however much time he has left. He is 15 now, so that could be a while yet, or his life could be drastically shortened by his illness. We just don't know.....
He was mostly bald on his chest and stomach when he came to me, most of which has grown back. Because of follicle damage he will never have all of his feathers again, especially on his crop area, but that's OK, I love him just the way he is!
He has some vision problems, and hearing, and he has some problems with motor skills. He head tic becomes more pronounced when he gets excited or upset about things, and the vet says that it is a symptom of a traumatic brain injury, and could be a legacy of his stroke.
I can't re-arrange his cage or his toys very often because it really messes with him (i.e.. he can't find anything and he starts crying and frantically looking for things) and when I do either his cage mate Hope, or I have to help him find the toys, perches, food dish, etc.
She holds food for him to eat, helps him find toys, and most importantly, she guides him back in to the cage if he wanders out too far and can't find the cage door again. She is so devoted to him, it is really touching!
I found both birds in the back room of a pet store in Davenport, IA (about 30 min north of me), where they had been pretty much abandoned by their former owner.
They were stuck back in an empty back room with no one to talk to them or play with them, no radio or tv or toys to give them something to do "because of the noise".
Apparently they were screaming like typical conures to get attention, and out of joi de verve, and it got to be a little too much for the store owners...... well duh, they're social creatures, and Conures to boot!
I would yell too if I was left in the conditions that I found them in! But that is beside the point. Anyhow, I managed to convince the former owner to release them to me ($300 later) and I got them out of there.
They came to me in Sept. of last year and have been with me ever since. I had placed Hope with my mom for a time, but due to circumstances beyond her control, she could not keep her so she came back here to live with me.
Since she moved back in, she not only moved herself back in with Sunee Byrd, she has also attached herself to my 6 year old son, who adores her. Sunee is happy as long as he is left alone by the humans, and as long as he gets some seed on occasion (he and Hope were seed junkies when I got them, I had a hard time converting them to a decent diet!) and no one tries to handle him unless it is me.
I can handle him a bit, but only on his terms. He is my special guy, and I love him to bits!
Thank you for telling Sunnee's story, Julie.
You can visit Julie's webpage about Sunnee at Sunnee
After many years of pet bird ownership, I have decided to write e-books about the care of some of these wonderful birds.