Monday, March 17, 2014

Update on Jackoo

Our pet parrot, Jackoo, is back from his long holiday at “Club Fletcher” in Tshikaji. He seemed to adjust quickly to being back in the big city of Kananga, but I’m sure that he misses the companionship of Coltrain, the other parrot who he lived with in Tshikaji. We heard that a couple of times in the months before we returned, they got out of the enclosure at Fletchers, and seemed pretty proud of themselves. Neither parrot can fly, so it was fortunate that they were found before a hawk found them! We found that Jackoo, in particular seems to have picked up a knack for escaping – if the string we use to tie his cage is accessible, he will work at the knot until it comes loose enough to get the door open.

Jackoo trying to get out

Jackoo pushes on the door to loosen the knot in the string

One day, Bob casually watched him escape from his cage, but then when he tried to coax him onto his hand, Jackoo refused – of course excited about his newfound freedom. He then went out to the overhang beyond our balcony, and we could tell he was scared and not sure what to do. Since he can’t fly, being free outside is a risk, and we were afraid he would go down to the street. Bob went out to try to coax him, and of course it provided entertainment for all the passers-by on the street as they shouted advice. Bob finally coaxed him onto a stick, and he was by then happy to be back in familiar surroundings.

You can’t see Jackoo in this picture, but he is in front of Bob, while Bob tries to coax
him onto his hand on the overhang of our balcony. Note the spectators on the street below.

Another day a few weeks ago, our house-worker, Tatu Muanda, rushed to our office to tell Bob that Jackoo had gotten out and was down on the street. Bob went home to find him on a bar of the grate of the offices below us, panting and shaking and obviously scared. It took Bob almost 10 minutes to coax him onto his hand and bring him back upstairs. So…we are much more careful now about how we tie the cage shut, and he has not recently had any break-outs. We know that parrots are active, intelligent birds that need to stay occupied with toys or challenges, so we have tried various things to keep Jackoo distracted. I gave him a small white plastic bottle that I expected him to chew to pieces, but he has left it intact and likes to play with it. What we found interesting is that he also seems to crouch over it for long periods at a time, as if it is an egg he is sitting on…or maybe “she” is sitting on??

We’ve received a few requests for a video of Jackoo speaking. It is hard to capture some of the funny ones on tape, but we’ve tried to put together a short sampler of some of his noises. His “vocabulary” is not extensive, but he is great at imitating all kinds of noises. He provides some good distraction and amusement for us, as you can imagine.

Jackoo having fun with his noises

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