Happy Birthday, Cheeky!


On March 17, 2013, Cheeky broke out of his shell and into the world.

He is stretching a wing as all parrots do when they are delighted by something.

He is foraging in Rita’s food bowl,

But he pauses to stretch for me because I am talking to him.


A couple of months ago

I placed him on Rita’s large play stand beside my desk.

At first, he really did not want to step onto the play stand.

Apparently, he was reluctant to trespass in Rita territory.

With my encouragement, he soon began to taste her food

And wander around the play stand.

Now, I often let him play there

When Rita is on her Java tree on the porch, of course.


The last time he was here on The Parrot,

He was having his first molt.

Now, he has all of his blue flight feathers

And, he has learned to fly.

He still plays on his stand on my desk.


This was supposed to be a Cheeky/Granny portrait.

The reflection from his cage created a kind of mist around him.

Since he is something of a mystical little fellow,

I thought it was an appropriate portrait for him, after all.


When I first allowed him to sit on my shoulder as I walked around,

He often flew down in a random fashion and landed on whatever was nearby.

One day as we sat on the porch, he simply flew off and circled the lamp next to my chair.

I was surprised, but I reflexively held out my hand.

He was able to turn in the air and negotiate a perfect landing in my palm.

He had learned to fly and to land wherever he chose.

A major milestone for him.


He still plays on my desk during the day.

If he’s in a playful mood, I have to shove him out of the way in order to type.

My keyboard looks a lot like the floor of a bird cage.

The only action he can initiate is to climb onto the bottom of the monitor

And open the monitor settings.

I have discussed this with him in detail. Β But, he only pretends to listen, I think.


This is Cheeky’s birthday portrait.

He is doing what he most likes to do in the world.

I don’t usually wear glasses at home, so it’s a real treat for him to find them on my head.

Since he often hangs onto my clothes as I move around the house

He can climb onto my head via my ear and down onto the glasses

Where he sometimes just sits and preens his feathers or my hair.


Cheeky’s cage is behind me as I work at my desk, so I can’t see him.

But, he has learned that the outside of the cage is his territory too.

And, he has learned to stay there.

Just as Rita does.


When I see him sitting on his cage door,

I am amused because he reminds me of Rita.

Such a little bit of a thing behaving like a big parrot!


Cheeky is no bigger than he was months ago.

He is an adult now and won’t grow any bigger.

He still weighs 68 grams.

This picture gives you some idea of how tiny he is.

The chair is small and the distance to the cage is about six inches.

(Parrots consider anything within reach of their cages to be their territory too.)


Cheeky has learned his behaviors well.

He has earned a real measure of freedom to do his thing.

He is flighted and I don’t plan to clip his wings.

There is a chance that he will have an accident, but I feel that he is safer with flight ability.

As long as he continues to fly only near me and to come back to me when I hold out my arm,

He can fly to his little heart’s content.

It is incredible that a tiny little creature like Cheeky

Could process and recall so much information and learn so many things.

He is as intelligent and sensitive as his big boy counterparts.

His personality is very much like that of a big Macaw.

His voice is that of a songbird.

His companionship is priceless.

Happy Birthday, Big Boy!


61 Comments on “Happy Birthday, Cheeky!

  1. At the risk of parroting other well wishers, “Happy Birthday Cheeeky!”. Thanks for another delightful post. Bright, colourful, tropical and definitely warm, ……. I vaguely remember warm. πŸ™‚


    • Ha-ha. I have a vague recollection of it too! It’s sixty degrees here today, but it’s damp and rainy. I’m still cold. By June, I will only have a vague recollection of comfortably cool weather… Glad the post warmed you a bit. Thanks.


    • Thank you, John! Cheeky is a real sweetheart. You’d love a Fancy Green Cheek Conure. Thanks for stopping by to wish him a happy birthday. Cheeky has a happy day every day! πŸ™‚ And that makes me smile.


  2. What a handsome and well-learned boy he has become! You are the best bird mommy ever! I love all these photographs, but especially the one of you and Cheeky. So sweet!


  3. Sorry to have been out of touch George. Joanna and I wish Cheeky a very happy birthday. He looks to be in great condition … clearly the result of all the hard work you’ve put into his education and up bringing. Joanna and I both had a good laugh at the portrait of you both taken to commemorate the special day. D


    • Hi, Dave. I’ve been out of touch too. I did see something about choosing photos for a new project, though. And, I intended to stop long enough to ask you to include some of the early photos of the barn that looks like a church and especially some of the early lamb photographs. They are wonderful. Working with cheeks is not work for me. He’s been so easy to teach that I hardly noticed his progress for a long time. I suppose I expected him to behave like a big parrot, and he does. You and Joanne really must have a Yellow-sided Green Cheek Conure. Not the regular green ones with the black heads. Cheeks is referred to as a Fancy Green Cheek too. These little fellows are absolutely no trouble at all. They don’t scatter their food or make a mess the way most small birds do. They have soft voices, unlike any other parrot I’ve ever known about. I warn you, though, that you will become a real fan of parrots. They are so very different from the softbills. He is very easy to work with and is such a little clown and the most affectionate little fellow imaginable. He is precisely like the big parrots. He just comes in a tiny package which makes him easy to live with. You would train him without realizing that you were actually working on it. Such a joy to have around! Thanks for stopping by, Dave. I am glad you and Joanna enjoyed the shameless photo of Cheeks and me! Chuckle…


    • Thank you, Celestine! I’ve been away from your blog for entirely too long! Cheeky sends a big wing-stretch thank you. I hope everything there is going well and that you aren’t working your head off! See you soon. Thanks for stopping by to wish Mr. Cheeks a happy birthday. πŸ™‚


  4. Cheeky! How I adore you. If I could I would put you on my shoulder (or encourage you to fly there) and take you anywhere you wanted to go for your birthday. You are one of my favorite things, and perhaps the most beautiful. I am very proud of you Cheeks, and have established a college fund for you as well.
    Great post George and wonderfully photographed.


    • Cheeks grins a big thank-you with his little wing. I fully expect him to earn his PhD, at least by his next birthday. As we speak, he is diligently working on his dissertation at the desk we share. Thanks, Mike. Glad you enjoyed the post. (It was especially for you as Cheeky’s biggest fan…)


  5. A truly delightful post, George – both in terms of your photos and your words – I can hear you saying the words! And the relationship and understanding you have with your animals and plants is simply heartwarming. I hope you’re fine. Adrian


    • Hi, Adrian. I’m well and the animals are all doing well too. Cheeky is such a delight. I’ve enjoyed working with him. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! πŸ™‚ I always look forward to your visit! Thank you.


  6. Happy Birthday Cheeky!!!!!!!!!!!! Love all of the images, but ESPECIALLY the one of the two of you….so sweet…your post makes me tear up a little….just so wonderful πŸ™‚


    • Thanks, Suzanne. Cheeky is a wonderful little fellow. I’ve enjoyed working with him so much. He has learned so well that I’m constantly amazed that such a tiny thing could possess such brain power. No wonder fragile birds survive and adapt so well in their natural environments. Keeping parrots has informed me about their ability to survive almost anything. They really are fantastic and fascinating creatures. Cheeks thanks you and stretches his little wing in a huge smile for you! Chuckle….


  7. What a wonderful celebration of Cheeky’s birthday. And he does look beautiful and charming in the pictures. I admire your patience in letting him near the keyboard, but appreciate the relationship you have with both the birds. I’m especially impressed by your decision to allow him flight. May he bring happiness to all those around him.


    • Thank you, Shimon. I’m happy to share Cheeky’s birthday pictures. He is a charming big parrot in a little package. I have such respect and admiration for him. He’s been a real pleasure to work with. Yes, I allow him to wander over my keyboard but only because he doesn’t pluck off the key covers, and he doesn’t weigh enough to depress the keys. Allowing him to wander on my desk is a way for me to spend time teaching and interacting with him while I do my own thing too. He learns a great deal about what I expect of him during these play sessions.

      I didn’t clip Rita’s flight feathers after the recent molt, but she flew up to the drapes and started to peel the paint off the wall again. If she didn’t do that, I could allow her to be flighted. I like for her to be able to fly across the house to her play stand beside my desk, but there is no way to tell her not to chew things she isn’t supposed to chew. You really can’t keep the big parrots indoors without clipped wings unless you cage them all the time, and I refuse to do that. She’s lived with her cage doors open for years. She used to spend every day on her Java tree at our sofa in the living room, right in the middle of everything that was going on. She could climb down to the sofa wanted to go there. Honestly, I don’t think she particularly cares since she rarely flew anyway and is so conditioned to staying on her cage or her play stand or wherever I set her down.

      Nobody could live with a free-flying, untrained parrot loose in his house! Chuckle. Actually, I read a book written by a woman who did just that. The parrot ate up everything in the house and she couldn’t manage it at all. There was a huge discussion about that among the parrot experts a few years ago. I laughed at even the consideration of such a thing. The parrot controlled the keeper. Huh?

      I think I am fascinated by parrots because they couldn’t be domesticated although we tried for thousands of years. They are wild creatures who can be socialized, learn how to live with us, but they remain essentially wild. I have such deep respect and admiration for them. The Parrot Diaspora, I call their lives with humans … far from their homelands.


  8. I too loved your post and a peek into your life! And he is a beautiful bird! As are you! Happy spring to you and your feathered friends! Though mine don’t live INdoors, they are very busy! xxx


    • Hi, Adelaide. What a gorgeous picture of you among the tulips. So pretty! I’m glad you liked our goofy portrait. πŸ™‚ I’m shameless, you know! I do love the outdoor birds. Every bird should live there, but we have captured and bred the parrots for your pleasure for thousands of years. I do the best I can to make life with humans enjoyable for them. Of course, they are wild creatures still in their hearts. That’s what I love about them, I think. I hope you are doing well and that spring will be here soon for all of us! Thanks for stopping by for Mr. Cheek’s birthday! xx


  9. Wonderful photos of little Cheeky! He’s so adorable, and I love the pic of him hanging onto your glasses. I think he’s very aptly named. πŸ™‚ Happy Birthday, Cheeky. xx


    • Hi, Sylvia! Thank you for stopping by for Mr. Cheek’s birthday! He really is sweet and funny. I’ve enjoyed working with him. And, he’s a real source of entertainment, to boot. Glad you liked my shameless photo of him on my glasses. I couldn’t resist posting it since I think he’s such a little clown. πŸ™‚ Cheeky says, “Thank you” … With a big wing stretch just for you!


    • Thanks, Richard! I couldn’t resist posting the photo of Little Cheeks on my glasses. He’s such a clown. I never thought I’d keep a little parrot, but he’s been a real pleasure to work with. And, he’s entertaining besides! πŸ™‚


    • You are making Cheeky blush. πŸ˜‰ He is a sweet little fellow. Glad you liked the double portrait. Thanks for stopping by to visit us, Robin!


  10. Happy birthday to Cheeky. He has such a look of kindness and mischief in his eyes.


    • HI, Riso! He really is a sweet little thing, and, yes, he hops from one mischief to another on my desk, and makes me laugh. Thanks for stopping by to visit him on his birthday! πŸ™‚


    • Hi, Christine! Cheeky says thank you! I really am enjoying his company. Such a big parrot in such a little package! Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚


    • Hi, Marie! Cheeky almost doesn’t look real. He really is colorful. Yes, parrots are much more interactive and behave very differently compared to the softbills like budgies. He is a Yellow-sided Green Cheek Conure (or a Fancy Green Cheek Conure). The regular green conures are very different. Their voices are loud and the are very nippy. The Fancy Conure is much more docile and his voice is like a little songbird. I wouldn’t keep a regular green conure. If you want a big parrot in a little package, Cheeky is for you. πŸ™‚


  11. Happy Birthday. It seems a moment in time when you spoke of him last year. I learned from my wife that the kids need equal billing. So you’d best post on Rita or there will be jealousy to contend with.


    • Hi, Victor! You do post more of Julia than of David, I think… But, I forgive you. Chuckle… I did a whole post on Miss Rita’s bath recently! Nobody here minds since Kelli calls Rita “That Green Chicken”. They are not bosom buddies to put it mildly. I hope everything in KSA is going well. You haven’t missed a thing by not being here this winter! It’s even been cold in South Texas. Thanks for stopping by. (I love the posts of the kids when they were little, by the way.)


    • Thank you, Meredith! He is a real treat to work with. I knew nothing about these little Conures, so it was a real shot in the dark for me. He is very easy to teach and such a gentle little guy. The regular Green-Cheeks are not so sweet and they are loud. Not for me! πŸ™‚ I am really happy to have him here. Thanks for stopping by to celebrate Cheeky’s birthday! πŸ™‚


  12. Happy Birthday, Cheeky! This is such a fun post. I love all the photographs and how we can see Cheeky from so many different angles. I never can get over how delicate his little feet look. I’m so happy that he has had such a wonderful first year and that everything went so smoothly for him, and for Rita, who seemed to adjust to his arrival and presence with impressive tolerance and decorum. Of course, the shot of you two together is the most delightful one of all. It really makes me smile, that one. πŸ™‚


    • Thank you so much, Lemony. And, thank you for your help in editing my blog entries. Yes, Cheeky’s feet are huge and very delicate, but very strong. He has had a really good first year, and that’s critical because he must be socialized in order to live successfully in a home. I feel good about his progress and his ability to adjust to life with humans. He will outlive me, so it is important to me to be able to help him to learn good behaviors.

      He is so cute when he climbs on my head and onto the glasses that I couldn’t resist a photo of it. I’m glad you like it. He is a real delight to work with and to just have hanging around! I’m happy I saw him that day in the pet store. πŸ™‚ Happenstance has figured large in my life, and this was no exception!


    • Ah, thank you, Switt! Your happy face always makes me smile. Cheeky has been a real delight to work with. He’s smart and self-confident without being difficult to train. I’ve really enjoyed him. I appreciate the visit. I haven’t been around much, but I wanted to post his birthday for the folks who follow his progress. πŸ™‚


  13. This is a charming post! I love hearing about that cute little Cheeky! He’s added a lot to things at your house; it was a lucky day when you saw him at the feed store or wherever! Happy Birthday Cheeky!!!!!
    Where’s my picture?


  14. Happy Birthday Cheeky πŸ™‚

    LOVE this post!
    I especially love the one with the two of you together. Nice to see your beautiful face & smile.


    • Ah, thank you, my sweet RoSy! πŸ™‚ Cheeky is such a sweet little fellow. And he has learned to live with humans. That must be difficult, you know. Ha-ha. He gradually became more and more reliable until I really can trust him to do what I’ve required him to do. You and the kids would love a Cheeky. He really is no trouble at all and he loves attention. πŸ™‚


  15. I was wondering how Cheeky was doing. I feel as if I have watched him grow up. The photo of the two of you is priceless. Thanks for the update! He does not know he is a little bird.


    • Thanks, Jo Nell. No, he doesn’t have a clue about how tiny he is. That’s the charming thing about these little parrots. I am continually surprised at how much he behaves like the big parrots. He was very easy to socialize too. Just a sweetheart little fellow! πŸ™‚ It’s a bit cooler here today. But, it’s not freezing me to death, at least! Chuckle… Romero started pruning off all of the dead stuff, although he didn’t much want to start until he was certain that the danger of frost was past. I demanded that he start though. It’s a huge undertaking here this year. Did you lose plants?



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