Written by Michelle
Photographed by Michelle
When it comes to size Sydney might be the smallest bird at the aviary, but he has the biggest personality! This 20 year-old Senegal parrot first started calling The Hamilton Aviary home in 2006. Unfortunately for Sydney, his loving, elderly owner was moving into a seniors home and prohibited from bringing her feathered friend along with her. It was with open arms that we welcomed Sydney into our flock and he has become a sweet - if albeit quite cheeky - addition to The Hamilton Aviary.
Sydney, despite being only 9 inches tall, has a bit of a Napoleon complex. He thinks he rules the roost and often intently watches the larger birds if they have been let out of their cages nearby. One long time volunteer jokes that Sydney firmly believes he would be able to ‘“take on” Bubbete. Bubbette just happens to be a Blue-and-Gold Macaw and her head alone is about the size of all of Sydney. Denied of his fight, Sydney turns his ample spirit and ambition towards conquering the hearts of volunteers and visitors alike! He is very gentle and enjoys the company of anyone who will carry him around, stroke the top of his head, or give him treats. However, it is only his most favorite of people that he affectionately regurgitates food for.
At morning feeding time he makes sure to squawk loudly upon seeing the food cart to make sure nobody forgets about him. He also tries to sneak out of his cage whenever volunteers retrieve his dirty dishes from the previous day, choosing to sit on them and dart out at the last minute. On his most rambunctious days it takes two volunteers, one distracting Sydney by petting his head at one end of the cage, and a second to take out the containers before Sydney the escape artist can run back and realize the doors are open. After getting his collection of fruits and veggies Sydney likes to sift through them, examining the medley of colour for his favourites. He has a particular fondness for pomegranate and is a very messy eater, sometimes leaving the floor red and sticky from the pomegranate juice.
He is the pinnacle of entertainment, rummaging around under the newspaper at the bottom of his cage, and bobbing up and down much like a guinea pig or a cat under a blanket. Outside his cage he romps around with everything from measuring cups to screws, often throwing them off the table and then waiting for someone to retrieve them just to throw them back off again. He had been given the affectionate nickname of ‘Syd the Kid’ by volunteers at the aviary.
Makayla, the Operations Coordinator, reminisced about Sydney and his red Folgers coffee container. “It was his favourite even though it was twice as big as him! He would tackle this plastic container every chance he got. It remained in the aviary for years as his toy of choice.” Makayla also shared a story about Sydney and his antics late one night at the aviary. “I was all by myself at the aviary. I was locking up when I heard a door opening. All the doors in the aviary are creaky and you can hear them anywhere in the aviary, even more so at night when the birds are quiet. I thought somebody had snuck in or something until I heard it again and realized it was Sydney mimicking the sound of the door. He thought he was so funny but he scared me alright!”
Overall, Sydney is a loveable and mischievous little parrot who brightens the day of everyone he meets. He might be small but his heart is a big as any of the larger birds at the aviary.