By Sarah Schrock
In keeping with my rescue animal theme from last week, I realized I have never written about perhaps one of Twisp’s most remarkable treasures, Daisy. Daisy is the big, beautiful blue-and-yellow parrot that perches atop the cage at Twisp Feed and Rental. Daisy is a macaw, a tropical parrot from the jungles of South America.
She’s a bird with a unique personality and a story to match. Daisy came to Katrina Keeling in 2010 from a loving woman who could no longer keep her in her home, despite the good care she’d been given.
When Daisy’s previous owner started her own human family, like many older siblings who experience the transfer of attention and excitement to the birth of a new baby, Daisy felt a little slighted. She didn’t like feeling supplanted and started acting out.
Daisy’s owner had raised her from a chick, bonded with her, and loved her like a mother. Macaws are social animals and bond easily; they mate for life. Unfortunately, the situation was too stressful for the young family.
Daisy then went to live with a relative of her first owner, but unforeseen health problems made it difficult on her caretaker. That family reached out to Katrina’s husband, Don Auburn, who had experience as an exotic bird owner. The couple decided that they could give Daisy a new home.
Then, two years ago, Katrina and Don’s home was destroyed in a house fire and Daisy’s life was in jeopardy. An Okanogan County Fire District 6 firefighter saved her life during the blaze. Sadly, Daisy was confused and scared and the fireman suffered a painful bite from her powerful beak. Macaw beaks, designed to crack nuts and seeds, can deliver a crushing bite with 300-400 lbs. of pressure. The Auburns are very grateful for the fireman’s sacrifice to save Daisy.
Nowadays, Daisy lives full-time at the store. She is a cheerful and friendly attendant at the front desk, often tricking customers into thinking she’s a clerk tending the till. She’s known to greet shoppers with a “hello!” — mocking a human voice — when she hears the doorbell jingle. She loves other animals, especially dogs and puppies. Katrina fell for the bird when Daisy began flirting with Tucker, her black German shepherd and longtime companion who accompanied her everywhere, including the store. Tucker left a big whole in Katrina’s and Daisy’s hearts when he passed away a little over a year ago. But that meant more attention for Daisy, which was quite all right with her.
Pet macaws are known to “scream” for attention when they are not getting the attention they deem fit, and Daisy is no exception. In fact, if you start to talk about her, instead of to her, she’ll pipe-up to make sure she’s heard. She’s clever and crafty, able to maneuver the cage latches to feed herself. She will unwrap lollipops to entertain kids in the store, and like any feisty child, when she gets naughty, she’s sent to the back for a time out. Her favorite food: broccoli!
Birds like Daisy are big responsibilities and require a lot of care. Katrina cautions that anyone interested in becoming a bird owner should be very well-informed of the animal’s demanding needs and do their homework. Macaws in captivity can live over 60 years, perhaps even 80, so it’s not uncommon for them to outlive their owners.
Macaws are not threatened in their native habitats and most pet birds are bred in captivity, so conservation-minded bird owners can rest assured that they are not depleting natural populations.
Stop in during your holiday shopping and give Daisy a little attention. She’ll be happy you did.