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Bird Stories - My Moluccan Cockatoo Indy and Our Experience with The Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

A little over nine years ago I learned about FEBS (Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary). At the time I had a beautiful, sweet Moluccan Cockatoo named Indiana after Indiana Jones. We called him Indy. I had gotten him 15-20 years earlier, having discovered him in a local pet shop in our town. I had never seen such a beautiful bird. I went home and told my husband that if I was ever going to have a bird, this was the kind I would like to have. He went and looked, and it wasn’t long until Indy came to live with us. Indy learned to say so many things. He would say “I love you!”, “You’re such a sweet bird”

In 2013 I was going through a separation and divorce, and Indy came into apartment life with my daughter and I. Indy seemed to be more upset whenever we came home because he wanted out of his cage. He would repeatedly scream and then say “Calm down, calm down, no screaming!” This was around the time that I learned about FEBS, and as much as I hated to do it, I entertained the idea of placing Indy in the sanctuary if they had a place for him. It was a hard decision, but Patricia Norton answered my questions and was up for me to bring Indy to FEBS. I made a road trip with a friend to Florida and gave Indy into their care. I was excited for him to be with more birds of his kind in a free-flight aviary. They would introduce and acclimate him before releasing him into the Moluccan flock.

Over nine years have passed since March 15, 2014, when he became a resident at FEBS. Then in July 2023, I had a business meeting in South Florida and decided to route my trip home to come by the facility and see if I could find Indy. Hoping that we would somehow recognize each other, I looked forward to seeing if that dream might come true.

I scheduled myself for a tour of the Hudson, Florida facility and arrived on the designated day and time. I arrived about thirty minutes early, and the wonderful staff allowed me to go to the aviary which houses probably 20 or more Moluccans all looking identical. There were many who came close to me that were obviously sweet birds fond of human contact. I found some old video footage of Indy from back when he lived with me. He was very talkative in the video, so I just turned it up on my phone hoping he would respond. I remembered he had a tag on his leg so I was looking for that too and could rule out any birds who didn’t have a ring tag. It didn’t take long until I heard the response I was hoping for.

“Wanna go outside! Wanna go outside”. I knew it was Indy! I was so happy! As I spent more time with him he said more things. “ I love you”. “You’re such a bird”. “ I hear you”. “ Pretty, pretty bird”. “ Where’s Sharon?” “Radar Radar”. The staff had heard the “Radar, Radar” cry but didn’t know what that meant or who it was saying it. Radar was one of our dogs. In the past, he said “Radar, Radar” a lot and also “Sampson! Woof, woof, woof, woof”. But one thing I didn’t hear him saying was his old scream and the words “calm down, calm down”. I believe this is because he is perfectly happy in this huge beautiful free-flight aviary with all of his Moluccan friends. He no longer needs to scream. In fact, once we identified each other he was quietly watching me and saying a lot of the words he used to say.

I am forever grateful to Patricia Norton and the FEBS staff and volunteers for giving Indy and so many other exotic birds a forever home that is as close to natural as it can be. They are happy and contented at Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary. If I lived close, I would be a regular volunteer at FEBS. I’m planning at least an annual trip to see Indy and all his friends.

Thank you FEBS!

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