Gypsy - an African Grey
by Bobbi Brinker - Author of "For the Love of Greys"


What was her life like before she was ripped out of the heart of Africa over 37 years ago? Was she a blacked eyed fledgling from the playgrounds of Africa? Did this beautiful silver bird wheel across the sky playing and chasing? Or did she snuggle her eggs and chicks in the cool green treetops attended and fed by her faithful mate? 

What was her life like before The Closet? What was her crime? She didnít talk Ė she vocalized using sound effect and whistling. She was noisy. During her five years in The Closet, she chewed off her toenails and the ends of her toes.

 What agony of sensory deprivation drove her to mutilate her own flesh? She was naked, of course. She removed all of the feathers she could reach.

 After her rescue from The Closet, she spent the next 20 years in a medium size dog crate; one old toy, fed seeds and occasional human foods. Her feet and mutilated toes were very weak because of the single round smooth dowel on which as stood 24 hours a day. She got no exercise or relief from the cramping of her legs and feet and would fall helplessly to the floor of the cage when she lost her grip.

 She was never touched; never let out of the cage. She was still naked, of course. She plucked severely for those 20 years.

 She was saved from this existence by the death of the owner. She was severely plucked and had only two flight feathers on each wing. She had no tail at all.

In 1996, she was placed in a macaw size cage and immediately stopped plucking. She spent the next two years on a much better diet with natural branches for perches.

 I took her in 1998. Her toes and feet are very strong now. She is mostly feathered although she still clips her flights and tail feathers off. Amazingly enough, there is no follicle damage. Her plucking is mostly seasonal now.

 She is now a companion bird to Jean Pattison, the African Queen.


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