Mascots: Aerie & Ginger

Aerie is a Meyer's Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri). Meyers parrots are small grey birds with lots of green and iridescent blue feathers. They aren't as big as Macaws or Cockatoos, but they have big-parrot personality! This species comes from central and east Africa, but Aerie was hatched in San Francisco, California at J&R Exotics on December 2, 1995. Aerie eats fresh fruits and veggies (he especially likes apples and hot peppers, and he gets them on a skewer daily), a pelleted diet specifically designed for parrots, and some people food (he especially likes cooked rice, cooked veggies, crackers, cereals, and meats). His favorite dinner is chicken (he eats the marrow out of the bones), and of course he knows all about how yummy sugar is too. In his spare time he likes to chew; wood is best, although he also loves high quality leather purses when he can get them, LOL! Aerie has a fairly large vocabulary ("Want some!"; "Mmm gOOood!"; "Whatcha doin?!"; "How ya doin' there, Aerie?!"), makes all manner of electronic noises (phone, microwave, fire alarm, computer games, etc), and he has even taught us several words, including a special sound that he invented that means "I want to go to bed". Aerie also laughs, verbally greets people (including the dog, Ginger) with sounds that are unique to the particular person, and generally orders us around quite effectively.

Aerie's daily routine begins by having his cage uncovered, and I have to scritch his head before he'll step onto my hand. He then joins us for breakfast on his "birdie high-chair" in the kitchen (a bird stand on rolling casters that has a tray to catch debris). After breakfast I set up his "enriched foraging opportunities" in his cage for the day. Once he has "gone back home", his day consists of preening, taking a late-morning nap, listening & dancing to music, chewing wood or cardboard boxes, taking in the view of the Carquinez Straits, preening some more, singing, ordering the dog around, foraging in  his cage, and taking an afternoon nap. And, he does whatever you're doing: You eat, he eats; You sleep, he sleeps; You talk on the phone, he talks on the phone (he mimics a phone conversation quite well: "Hi. OK. Yeah. Really??! Mmhmm. OK. Bye."); You work on a project; he works on a project. Sometimes he'll join someone on their shoulder while they're doing computer work, and he always "helps" with dinner preparations by ringing his bell, giving cooking instructions, and begging to taste-test. He really enjoys his bell ... we suspect that he's composing a profound manuscript in morse code, but we're too dumb to figure it out. He joins us for a family dinner (again on his high-chair), and after dinner gets scritched and petted while we watch TV. In the evening he usually forages a bit more, preens some more, and finally gets covered up for the night (he usually signals his desire to go to bed at precisely 8pm; you can set your watch by him).

The name "Aerie," is the result of me being a John Denver fan. When Aerie gets to be an old bird, I'm sure he'll know all the words to all the songs that John Denver ever recorded. "Aerie" is the title of a John Denver album that has one of my most favorite songs on it:
The Eagle And The Hawk
Words and Music by John Denver and Mike Taylor
I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there's blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all those who see me and all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly
Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail o'er the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we CAN be, not what we are
Copyright 1971 by Cherry Lane Music

aer-ie n. (1) The nest of a bird of prey, as an eagle or a hawk. (2). A lofty nest of any large bird. (3) The brood in the nest; the young of a bird of prey (4) an elevated habitation or situation. Also, aery, eyrie, eyry.

The song "The Eagle and the Hawk" is a very elevating song, suggesting meaning #4. I especially like the final message of the song, which is an important outlook on life for me .. "all that we CAN be, and not what we are". So, the name Aerie is from this song and the song's album title. Although I didn't know this would be the case in the beginning ... Aerie's name turns out to be especially appropriate for him: he loves "elevated habitations". And of course his situation in life is definitely "elevated" -- I LOVE and absolutely spoil him!

Aerie turned 16 in December 2011, and I'm willing to bet that he's smarter than your teenage honors student. ;)

Our little Mister Aerie Parrot turned 22 in December 2017 and is still amazing us with new vocabulary and antics every day.

Holly and Aerie, 2017
Aerie "lover boy" in 2017

Aerie with his birthday cupcake, on his 16th birthday.

Aerie soaking up the morning sun, in 2013.

Proud Aerie, getting into trouble.

Clockwise from top right: Holly & baby Aerie in spring of 1996; Holly & Aerie in Boston, MA in spring 2005;
Holly & Aerie in Benicia, CA in spring 2006; close-up of Aerie in 2010; Aerie unwrapping his Christmas
stocking presents in 2011.

I grew up with an AKC-standard (i.e. black, tail docked) Schipperke named Little Lady Katie (forever loved, 1981-1990), who was succeeded by a cream Schipperke named Sandra D (forever in our hearts, our friend and companion, 1990-2003). Gingerbread Girl is now the keeper of our hearts, and is a chocolate Schipperke who joined our family in 2007. In case you can't tell from the pictures, she is a "daddy's girl".

Few people in the U.S. seem to know about the existence of non-black Schipperkes and/or Schipperkes who have not had their tails docked (although such Schipperkes are common in Europe and Australia). So, I thought I would share some pics of Ginger:

Dad and baby Ginger, spring 2007.
Baby Ginger, spring 2007.
Ginger, all grown up.
Dad and Ginger, November 2011.
Ginger at the beach and in the desert.
Ginger loves to swim, travel, and mountain climb.
Holly and Ginger.


  1. Holly,
    I didn't find this page until today and it's so great to learn so much about Aerie parrot and Ginger.

    BTW, at the next Chaney sister gathering, just launch into any John Denver song and at least ONE of us (if not all of us) will join in!!!


  2. Awesome! No words. You always go one step beyond.

    There is so much great, useful information here. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Read our guide if you wish.

    Thanks again :)