Powder: Longer Distance Adoption

by Carolyn Lewis

This is the story of a VERY long-distance adoption of a Mickaboo bird, as told by her adoptor.

Our 17-year-old Goffin’s Cockatoo, Bernie, died unexpectedly in June 2007.  It devastated us and the silence in our home was unbearable.  We knew we had to have another goffin but also knew we couldn’t replace Bernie.  We checked with local bird rescues throughout our state of Alaska.  Bigger birds are not usually sold in Alaska and none were available.  We had plans to spend the winter in the lower 48 so we expanded our search.  Most bird rescues won’t adopt to people who live outside their area.  We finally found Mickaboo.  We submitted an application, sent photos of our home, did a phone interview and class.  We had already taken classes through PEAC so were approved to adopt and went on the waiting list.   We watched the website for new goffins and waited.    

The first week in September we headed south with our Pionus, Olive, and our cockatiel, Smokie.  I contacted Sue Walters, our Mickaboo contact, to let her know we would check our email as soon as we entered the United States. 

As soon as we got settled into an RV park in Great Falls, Montana we headed to the library to check our email.  And there was Powder!  She was a tiny female who had chewed off most of her wing and tail feathers.  Nothing like Bernie, who was a large male Goffin’s.  We contacted Sue to see how long she was willing to keep her.  It was late September and we had relatives meeting us in Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta.  Sue said she would keep her as long as we needed.  We decided it would be easiest on everyone if Darrell drove our pickup out to get her.  We drove on to my parent’s home in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Darrell headed to Sacramento, CA to get Powder.  She immediately became his bird.  The first night in the hotel room she slept on his chest (on his hand). 

Once back in Oklahoma we settled her into her cage in the motor home and stayed for two weeks to give her time to adjust.   She looked like a little chicken and was so fragile.  The slightest thing would cause her to snip off feathers and if we raised our voices she would start to shake.  We put lots of paper in the bottom of her cage and hung rope perches so she could hang on better. 

Our next stop was Clarksville, Arkansas.  We took three days to get there so as not to stress Powder.  Curtains stayed closed even after we arrived.  We gradually opened them as she got used to the new sounds.  We stayed in a park overlooking the Arkansas River.  She loved jumping on the back of the couch and looking out the window.

We spent two weeks in Branson, then went to Eastern Oklahoma to spend Thanksgiving with family and then back to Ardmore, Oklahoma for Christmas.




After Christmas we drove to San Antonio, Texas; Corpus Christi, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; and Laughlin, Nevada.  Each time we took a couple of days or made frequent stops. 

By this time Powder had become a seasoned traveler.  She loved to hear the air horns so each time we departed Darrell would blow the horns.  She wasn’t talking a lot but started saying “Truck, honk, honk” each time we started the motor home.  And all the birds would start fussing if they thought we had been traveling too long without a break.  As soon as we stopped they knew they would get some birdy bread or treat.
By March 1 we were ready to go home so we started watching the weather.  It was clear to Montana so we made a run for Great Falls.  We couldn’t afford to linger too long or risk getting caught in a snow storm.  We stayed in Great Falls until there was high pressure over Western Canada.  Five long days later we were home in Wasilla, Alaska.  We had put 15,000 miles on the motor home and Darrell had driven nearly 3,000 in the truck to get Powder so she’s a well traveled little bird. 

It has taken Powder a long time to settle in.  There was the new house, new room, a new larger cage and friends and family anxious to see her.  She loves people but often snips feathers afterwards.  She was fully feathered by December 2008 but in one afternoon of visitors she sniped them all off again.


 Now over a year later she is again almost fully feathered and is learning to fly.  We recently had a wind storm and she sniped off a few feathers but not all of them.  So we are making headway.  And we can argue in front of her and she joins right in (always taking Darrell’s side, of course).  She’s still not a big talker but does tell the other birds to “shut up” if she thinks they are too noisy.  She loves to dance and though no Snowball, she has great rhythm.

We still miss Bernie but Powder is the sweetest little bird and worth every mile we drove to bring her home.







Note:  For anyone thinking of traveling through Canada with their pet birds you must have a Pet Passport (also known as a CITES Permit) as well as a health certificate from your vet.  (Cockatiels and Budgies don’t need a CITES.) In addition, when reentering the United States birds must be seen by the USDA Vet and go into quarantine in your possession for 30 days and then be seen by USDA at end of quarantine.  Plan on spending at least a couple of hours at the border and some $$.  Go to the US Fish & Game and USDA websites for current requirements and applications.