Polly's Story

by Lisa Umstead

I received a call from Rey concerning an Amazon that needed placement. A 50 year old orange wing Amazon. I sent out feelers to the club members but no one seemed interested and then I heard nothing more about the bird, so I assumed that a home had been found for it. Owners change their mind all the time, so not to get a follow up call can be considered normal.

Then about 3 weeks ago, I received a call, that Polly, no longer an orange wing, but a yellow nape was in dire need of a home. It seems the caretaker had contacted 7 other organizations, including some out of state agencies but no one returned her call. The owner was elderly and was currently residing in a nursing home. Polly was living in an apartment by herself, with the caretaker feeding her daily. So Polly was taken care of, but was living alone, lacking any type of interaction or stimulation and started to pluck herself.

After a lengthy conversation with the caretaker, Rey took a trip into the city to pick up Polly, then bought her back to his place. Rey takes his job seriously and is always available to pick up a bird, no matter where the location might be.

From there, Dennis picked up Polly to bring her into the Parrot Haven. One of the members, who wishes to remain anonymous, was very interested in Polly, and offered to pay for a well bird check up whether he/she adopted Polly or not. There was some cause for concern that she might have mites, fluid retention, or diabetes, since her feet were scaly and swollen. After taking a train ride, and a long truck ride, it was time to let Polly rest, after she enjoyed a few apple chunks.

Polly was then placed in a cage separate from other birds. The next day I decided to spend some time with Polly. She was hesitant, but slowly stepped up on my finger. Then she let me pet her, then snuggle her. What a dream this bird was. She weighed in at 610 grams. What a pork chop! Probably too many seeds. I clipped her wings and trimmed her toenails. Boy, were they long. I'm surprised she could stand properly. Then came the real test. Time to give Polly a shower. I lathered her with a no tears shampoo, scrubbing her dull yellow nape & her scruffy belly. After a good rinsing, I wrapped her in a towel. She sat there immobile for the next half hour, snuggled and feeling warm, under a heat lamp. Probably in shock. After I toweled her dry, she snuggled up to my chest, then went downstairs to enjoya meal of apples, corn, scrambled eggs and peanut butter crackers.

I waited about a week before I took her for her check up, since I had another bird that had a vet's appointment and it was easier to combine the two. Polly loved the ride in her carrier, & waited patiently for her turn. Dr. Heidi Hoefer weighed Polly in at 548 grams. Heidi gave a rather thorough exam, peering down Polly's mouth and taking samples for gram stains. The swelling in her feet had gone down, but were still scaly. Polly might have a touch of arthritis in her feet. There were some insignificant spots in her mouth, but as a precaution she was placed on nystatin and sulfurtrim. Polly also had a lump on the side of her face, which disappeared when Heidi injected a needle and removed air from the sac that had been swollen on her face for the past 20 years.

Good bird that she was, Polly didn't even flinch. Polly received a clean bill of health pending test results, but so far her kidney, liver & cholesterol levels are all normal. Polly's benefactor provided funds to cover the vet bill, then donated the remaining balance to the Parrot Haven. Polly came to the meeting to meet her benefactor, who spent some quality time with Polly who was a little hesitant to be chummy, being in a strange surrounding. Polly needed to take her antibiotics for 3 more days and has now completed the setries of meds.

At this point Polly is relaxing in Parrot Haven and her status in finding a permanent home is still open. She's an adorable bird who loves to be cuddled and have her head scratched. Polly, who hadn't come in contact with another bird, in over 20 years, now has a whole houseful of playmates, but prefers to hang out sedately with a pair of conures. Polly is eating a diet of more healthy foods, but still needs to lose a bit of weight. As of this writing she weighs 580 grams, her chest feathers are coming in and her nape has emerged into a golden yellow. Who knows what will happen to Polly, but if she were to be available for adoption, the potential owner would have to take responsibility for a portion of Polly's vet bill. I am in no hurry to place Polly and am confident that the right home will avail itself when the time is right.

​(Editors note: Polly's former caretaker and another friend, Glenn have shown great concern for Polly and receive frequent updates about her progress. And many thanks to Heidi for always being there for the Parrot Haven birds.)