Meet Apollo!

Name: Apollo (Nicknames: Fluffle-lumpkin, Inspector Detector)

Breed: Sun Conure, 16 years old

Likes: Apollo likes food of most any type. He possesses a special fondness for things he’s not supposed to eat, like whipped cream and butter. Otherwise he demands breads, crackers (saltless!) pasta (cooked and uncooked), fruits, and peanuts. Somewhat disturbingly he also loves eggs and chicken meat. Nutri-berries are his favorite good-for-him food. A musical prodigy, he likes music that features a nice rhythm so that he can dance to it and singers with deep, throaty voices. Not surprisingly then, he’s a big fan of Leonard Cohen, the more mellow cuts from Lou Reed, and most selections played by Rob Bamberger on WAMU’s “Hot Jazz Saturday Night.” For some reason he also enjoys the singing of his owners Andy and Niki, neither of whom could carry a tune, even if it came equipped with handles. He also likes Joel from Sit-A-Pet who takes wonderful care of him when we are away. (We think Joel even sings to him).

Why aren’t you paying attention to me?

Dislikes: Apollo is generally unhappy any time we are engaged in an activity that does not involve him being the center of attention. Talking to each other, talking on the phone, even reading can raise his ire if he feels we are being insufficiently attentive to his immediate wants and needs. We have even referred to him as the ‘kiss police’ if that is any indication of how self-centered he can be. Owning a sun conure is like having an attractive but high-maintenance spouse — easy on the eyes perhaps, but quite demanding (think loud squawks of disappointment and complaint). The only difference being he is worth the trouble. Getting up early is not his forte, either. He wants his beauty rest, not that he needs it with his strikingly bold colors.

About Apollo: Apollo was purchased by Niki during a brief, and as she freely admits, ill-advised stint of living in Texas. (“He’s the best thing to come out of the state,” she observes.) “Sunny,” as he was called in the store, made an immediate impression on her. She soon realized that “Sunny,” while a nice enough name, failed to capture the bird’s oversized personality. A major Greek deity hit closer to the mark, and thus Apollo was “born.” He boasts many talents, in addition to his accomplished dancing skills, he sings or hums, can ‘answer’ the phone — calling, “hello, hello” whenever it rings, and is a very good kisser.

Birds, especially those in the parrot family, are highly intelligent creatures. (He’s smarter than a one-year-old human.) He is an extremely curious animal who never tires of exploring every surface upon which he is placed. He also likes to go “spelunking” under blankets and sheets to find out what they might be hiding. He must be part mole. Everyone who meets Apollo swoons over him, “Isn’t he beautiful?” people intone, and indeed he is, but all this praise has definitely gone to his head. Still, he’s (usually) a delight to be around, especially when he sings or hums along with music, and we’re glad to have him.

(Note to people considering purchasing a bird, however. They are unlike dogs, cats or other domesticated animals. They can have extremely long life spans–some larger parrots live 100 years or more — and require a high level of commitment. Sadly, many birds are abandoned or abused by frustrated owners. Please throughly research the requirements of owning a specific breed of bird and carefully evaluate whether bird ownership is right for you before deciding to purchase or adopt one.)