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Home > News & Events > MAARSianChronicles > Issue 13: August 2005 > Happy Landings: Tansy's Family Album / Boy Meet Girl

Happy Landings

Budgies, Coral and Tansy Birdfoot, and White-fronted Amazon, Casey, are all former MAARS birds who are now enjoying life with the Justus family in Brooklyn Park.

Budgies, Coral and Tansy Birdfoot, and White-fronted Amazon, Casey, are all former MAARS birds who are now enjoying life with the Justus family in Brooklyn Park.

Tansy's Family Album

by Tansy Birdfoot, as told by Sheila and Scott Justus, MAARS Volunteers

Hi, my name is Tansy! My daddy asked me to take some time out of my busy day to introduce you to my family. We'll start with me, since I am the most important! I'm a beautiful yellow Budgie and am named after a pretty flower. My full name is Tansy Birdfoot. Why Birdfoot? I don't know, I just liked the way it sounded whenever Mommy said it! I used to be a MAARS bird. In fact, 4 out of the 6 of us in the Justus family are former MAARS birds. I came to live here in Brooklyn Park with my sister Coral almost a year ago. I really like it here. Coral and I share a house in the family room. We have lots of toys, both inside and outside of our house. Our next door neighbor is Casey and down the wall a bit there's a big home where Payton and Jordan live. My other sister, Bunny, lives upstairs in Mommy and Daddy's room. Mommy and Daddy are Scott and Sheila Justus.

Anyway, back to me! I'm 100% high energy! I'm the acrobat of the family. If its within flying range, then you can bet I'll be on it real quick! I love to look at myself in mirrors and I like to lick them too! Mommy and Daddy think I'm a little weird but licking mirrors is fun! In the morning, Daddy wakes us up and opens up our door. I'm usually the first one out. I have to get a quick start on the day because hey, those mirrors don't lick themselves! I usually have some broccoli or green leaf lettuce for breakfast. I don't like fruit, ick! I like to fly over to Casey's house and check out what's going on. I cover every inch of it without actually going inside. I'd like to go in but Mommy and Daddy won't let me, so I stick my head in through the bars! I also like to hang out with Casey. He's really handsome, sometimes I grab at his feathers. I don't think he likes that much but I can't resist! Casey is really patient with me but sometimes I think I annoy him a tad too much and he asks me to leave. Well, OK, actually he throws me out, but I don't stay away for long! I fly a few laps around the room and than make my return. I like music, especially 80's hard rock! I like it loud and heavy! Whenever I hear rocking music I tweet, tweet, and tweet some more! I also like when Daddy plays video games, especially the ones with loud explosions! I don't hang out with Payton and Jordan. They like having us in the room — how could anyone not like having me around? — but they aren't real big on interacting with us. Sometimes Bunny comes down to visit, and I also see her whenever we have birdie sleepover night. I'll talk more about sleepover night later on. Bunny is really pretty but of course she's not as adorable as I am!

Sun Conure, Payton, fluffs up and looks tough with "dad," Scott Justus. Photo-shy Payton doesn't like cameras and goes into attack mode whenever she sees one!

Sun Conure, Payton, fluffs up and looks tough with "dad," Scott Justus. Photo-shy Payton doesn't like cameras and goes into attack mode whenever she sees one!

My sister Coral is also a former MAARS birdie. She's a Budgie and is a really beautiful lime green color — looks like a color you might see in the ocean, which is why she's named Coral. When we first came here Coral had some issues with getting around. She had no tail and was kind of overweight. She would try to fly but mostly she would just dive bomb into the floor. She's made a lot of progress and now she has tail feathers and is more slim. She's turned into a pretty good flier but needs to work on her landings! She also loves veggies, but no fruit please! In a world of followers and leaders she's definitely a follower. She does whatever I do — typical little sister! So between the two of us we make sure all the mirrors are covered with birdie spit! That's OK though; Daddy keeps them clean for us. He cleans, we lick, he cleans, we lick. It's the circle of life! Coral also likes to hang around Casey, and I think he has a soft spot in his heart for her. He's a lot more patient with her than he is with me. Coral also likes Daddy's video games but she prefers the football game. I think she likes the football field because it's green! She loves being sprayed with water. She closes her eyes and sticks her head up in the air. I totally don't get that, being sprayed is almost as bad as eating fruit!

My newest brother is Casey. He's a White-fronted Amazon and he just moved in with us a couple of weeks ago. He's from MAARS too. He's still adjusting to his new life, but he told me that he's really happy here. He makes a lot of really neat sounds! There's the squeaky toy, the puppy, the baby, and a bunch of other assorted whistles and shouts. I like when he's noisy and so do Mommy and Daddy. Last week Mommy and Casey were playing. Mommy would throw up her arms and make a noise and then Casey would throw up his wings and make a noise! It was funny! At first Casey didn't like to go too far away from his house, but he's getting better. Sometimes he helps Daddy on the computer, which is on the far side of the family room, and sometimes he goes upstairs and hangs out a bit with Bunny, Mommy, and Daddy. He gets a little scared whenever he sees Mommy or Daddy wearing a coat. I think he's afraid they're leaving and not coming back or that he's going to be taken away. We all tell him that he's safe and not going anywhere; I'm sure he'll realize that soon. Other than that, he seems to be well-adjusted already. He doesn't eat fruits or veggies yet. None of us really know much about his past, so we don't know if he's had much exposure to healthy food or not. Mommy and Daddy give him fresh food every day, so I'm sure he'll realize it's good stuff eventually! He did eat a little pizza crust during our last birdie sleepover night, and even though that's not healthy food, at least it was something different than his crunchy pellet stuff.

I guess I should tell you about birdie sleepover night since I've mentioned it several times. We do that every other weekend or so. Mommy and Daddy bring Bunny and her house down to the family room and they also bring blankets and pillows for themselves. We all spend the evening together watching DVD's, eating food, and playing! We get to stay up extra late on those nights. Than Mommy and Daddy sleep with us. We love our Mommy and Daddy so we usually let them sleep until 7:30 a.m. before we start making noise.

Jenday Conure, Jordan, and Sun Conure, Payton, are other members of the Justus flock.

Jenday Conure, Jordan, and Sun Conure, Payton, are other members of the Justus flock.

Moving on to my other sister and brother, Payton and Jordan. They aren't from MAARS like the rest of us. They moved in with Mommy and Daddy a little over five years ago when Mom and Dad lived in West Virginia. I've never been to West Virginia but Mommy and Daddy sure don't seem to like it much! Jordan, my brother, is the leader of our flock. He's a Jenday Conure and is named after Michael Jordan. I guess Michael Jordan was some kind of basketball player, but I'm too young to remember him. Jordan spends a lot of time watching out the window and letting us know when potential danger is in the backyard. We have a cool backyard. Daddy puts out food for all of our outside cousins so there's always birdies, ducks, squirrels, rabbits, and sometimes deer out there. It's like we live in a Disney movie! Jordan makes sure we are all safe. He likes to get kisses from Mommy and he also likes when Daddy boops him. You don't know what booping is? Booping is when Daddy uses his nose to tap Jordan's beak. He says, "Boop," when he does it! I don't really understand it myself, it must be a guy thing! Jordan likes to get sprayed with the bottle, which I also don't understand 'cause I hate showers, and than he likes to have his head rubbed afterwards. Sometimes Mommy comes downstairs with a towel wrapped around her head. Jordan really loves that! He gets all fluffy and sways back and forth. Odd. And Mommy and Daddy think I'm weird!

My sister Payton is a total momma's girl! She likes to sit on Mommy's shoulder and hide in her hair. She also likes to go down inside whatever shirt Mommy and Daddy are wearing and hang out. She chews a lot while she's in there. If you've ever seen Mommy and Daddy at MAARS and laughed at their holey t-shirts…that's from Payton! Jordan likes to chew on shirts too, but he won't go down inside of them. Payton is a really pretty Sun Conure. She's named after Walter Payton, who played for the Chicago Bears. Daddy is really into the Bears. We watch football with him every Sunday during the season. Payton is really funny around cameras. For some reason she hates them and whenever she sees one she goes into attack mode! I don't see many pictures of her where she isn't fluffed up and trying to look tough! Fluffy, oh yeah, that reminds me. She also likes to play baby. She gets all fluffy and cuddly looking and sways back and forth. It's a different fluffy than the tough camera fluffy! It's really cute!

Cockatiel, Bunny, a former MAARS bird, snuggles with Sheila Justus.

Cockatiel, Bunny, a former MAARS bird, snuggles with Sheila Justus.

My other sister is Bunny. She's a beautiful Cockatiel. She's also a former MAARS birdie. She originally came here as a foster bird, but ended up becoming a member of the family. She used to be named Sunny but that evolved into Bunny. Mommy and Daddy would call her Sunny Bunny and they noticed that she especially liked the Bunny part. Kind of like me and Birdfoot! So eventually Sunny got dropped entirely. She also answers to Bunsters and Bunn Bunn! Her favorite TV show is The Apprentice. She likes it because Mommy and Daddy sing the theme song to her but they change the words from "Money Money Money" to "Bunny Bunny Bunny." Speaking of music, she doesn't like songs that have a lot of percussion — just not a big fan of drums! Bunny spends every morning helping Mommy get ready to go to work. She also really loves laundry day. She likes to play in the clothes and is fascinated by open drawers. She spends her evenings in bed cuddling and playing with Mommy and Daddy. What a life!

Well that's my family. We have a home full of noise and full of love! Hey, what's that over there? Looks like something shiny. I'd better go lick it! See ya!

Boy Meets Girl

by Annie Hawkinson, MAARS Adopter

Early in the morning, around 7:00 a.m., anyone in our house can hear Tanner singing little songs to Charlotte. Tanner is our grey and white three-year-old Cockatiel we adopted from MAARS around Christmastime last year. The other birds had picked on him — probably because he's such a sweet little guy who desperately wanted to make friends. He even lost some head feathers in his quest to be "one of the boys."

We fell in love with him right away when we met him at The Landing! As soon as we had completed all of the MAARS placement requirements, we brought him home. From the beginning, he wanted to our attention all of the time and would not be left out of any household activities. He fit right in with the other pets too. We have gentle Bernese Mountain Dogs — Trooper and Mya — and one day we saw that Tanner had flown over to Trooper and was sitting on his paw! Trooper didn't mind, Tanner seemed pleased to have made another friend and we were glad there was harmony without rivalry but we realized we would have to carefully supervise the inter-species relationships to avoid a potential accident. We also realized that Tanner really needed a companion of his own kind.

So we went back to MAARS, and observed Tanner while he socialized with other cockatiels. Soon a cute little blonde female caught his eye and he began following her and singing little songs, too. When we moved him to another room to interact with a few potentially compatible companions, Tanner started to vocalize insistently. Despite attempting to introduce him to several birds, he continued his determined call — it wasn't indiscriminate, he wanted to be with the lutino female! So we brought her in and Tanner sang to her. They sat close together and she listened attentively to his song. After ten minutes, everyone there could tell they were in love. Tanner and Charlotte — aka "Butter Bird" because of her beautiful yellow plumage — were a pair!

Now, the two are inseparable — they preen each other, sing together, and explore the house side by side. It is a joy to see the two of them so happy, thanks to MAARS. We heard about MAARS after losing our first Cockatiel, and ever since our first visit everyone there has helped us so much. We have learned more about birds than we ever thought we'd know, too. Jamie McCarthy, the MAARS Placement Counselor who worked with us, actually picked out both Tanner and Charlotte because she thought they would respond positively to each other and us. And she has really been there for us whenever we needed some advice or had a question about avian care or behavior.

We love our birds very much and are so grateful for everything MAARS does — our lives, Tanner and Charlotte's lives and even Trooper and Mya's lives — are so much richer because of what MAARS has given us: a flock.

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