This is a story about Floyd, a special little parrot that etched a place in the hearts of all that knew him. Sadly, we had to say our emotional goodbyes to our friend of 10 years when he succumbed to an inoperable cancerous tumor.
When you work with so many magnificent parrots, they quickly become part of the fabric of your life, and although the passing of one is inevitable, it still touches you in many unexpected ways. Some may see this as a burden, but the strength and compassion of our Bird Mother has helped each of us understand our role during these trying times. From her perspective, we are here to assist these birds in peacefully passing so they can fly freely to their next great adventures.
In light of new adventures, I would like to celebrate Floyd with all of you by sharing moments of love and laughter that he generously gifted upon so many of us.
Floyd was placed in our care after his parront, Devon, was diagnosed with a lung disease that was to cruelly force a separation between her and Floyd after 19 years of companionship. Devon embarked on a quest to find the best forever home for Floyd and ultimately decided that sanctuary life reimagined was a perfect fit for her little prince.
Floyd came from a very impressive parrot lineage. He had a subtle regality about him that made us wonder if, many birds ago, he was pals with Alexander the Great, the king of Macedonia, and his species’ namesake. Even then, Alexandrines were known as beautiful, playful and independent birds that were excellent mimics. Because of these characteristics, they were considered prized possessions for royalty in Europe.
Floyd’s ability to mimic sounds was epic and his vocabulary amazed and engaged us. After all, who wouldn’t stop in their tracks when hearing the words “I love you” and “Give me a kiss.”
Now, in sanctuary life reimagined, we take our cues from each of our birds as to what their perfect forever home environment is. Some choose to join a flock, some choose the companionship of a bonded mate and yet others prefer a quieter zone where they can observe and reflect.
Well, Floyd chose none of the above, he instead chose us, a dedicated team that he knew would understand his many dimensions and aspirations, including being a ladies-man-bird, a business-man-bird, a tv-personality-bird and a discerning-gourmet-taste-bird.
Oh yes, Floyd had an eye for the ladies and the ability to sneak a cuddle and a kiss whenever he could. A young college student visited our sanctuary and was introduced to Floyd. Floyd watched her quite attentively, before hopping onto her finger and then her shoulder where he gently placed his beak into her chestnut-colored hair and then snuck a little nuzzle on her neck. She smiled and said: “I’ve heard the term ‘Lady Killer’ before, and now I know they must have meant Floyd.”
Being a gentle and social chap with exceptional manners and charm, Floyd accompanied us to a local fair so we could engage with the community and explain the plight of the captive parrot trade—and why sanctuaries like FEBS are necessary. Well, Floyd took it a step farther, showing us that he was an astute business-man-bird that understood the overhead associated with running a sanctuary. In his truest form, he entertained the crowd by retrieving the dollar bills they offered and promptly getting them back to our donation box. The following day, the look of the cashier at our bank was priceless as she carefully noted that each of the bills being deposited had a perfect triangular cut where Floyd had retrieved them. As we explained, sometimes beaks do that.
Being a business-man-bird was entertaining for Floyd, but he had higher aspirations and some even felt he silently longed to be a TV-personality-bird. In August of 2014, Floyd got his big break when he made an appearance on WFLA’s Daytime program with our Bird Mother. He, of course, charmed hosts Jerry Penacoli and Cyndi Edwards. It was clear then that Floyd was quite simply born to be a star—but we already knew that.
Apparently, once you’ve had your big TV break and are practically a household name, you may develop a gourmet palate—and experience sudden cravings for artichoke dip—and Floyd did just that. But not just any artichoke dip mind you, your discerning taste buds will demand a dip made from fire roasted peppers with a fresh stalk of celery on the side. Floyd knew that although some may see this as slightly demanding, he simply had to set the bar when it came to matters such as this.
These are just a few of the many wonderful Floyd memories that we will share with our friends and family and smile about for years to come.
In honor of Floyd, we have planted two beautiful Mango trees to nourish and bring joy to all his feathered friends at the sanctuary—after all, Floyd would have wanted it that way. And each time the leaves of these trees rustle gently in the warm Florida breeze, we will think of Floyd and the joy that he brought to us, his parront Devon and the many others that have been fortunate enough to say that they met an amazing little bird named Floyd.
If you would like to become a Friend of FEBS and sponsor Alexandrine or any other parrots, please do so here.
In closing, I want to sincerely thank our Bird Mother, our staff and our volunteers for the care, love and dedication they selflessly provide to all our feathered residents, 365 days of the year. Bravo to all of you.