Monday, July 20, 2009

Meet Carly Lu!

On July 4, 2009, we met Nolan, the African Grey, who certainly caught the attention of a lovely young grey lady named Gothic! She even posted a sweet little hello to the Mr. Nolers!

Well now...

Does Gothic have a little competition?


Enter stage left - the beautiful, the exotic....

Ms. Carly Lu!

Carly Lu, a Congo African Grey, hails from California where she lives with her companion, Raz Rasmussen.

Carly Lu is a fun loving, free spirited gal who enjoys the California lifestyle to its fullest. While she's not much of a "toy girl", she is crazy about foraging for food.

Isn't that wonderful?! I've done a couple posts on foraging, so perhaps Carly Lu has been reading over Raz's shoulder (or reading while on Raz's shoulder)!
As we know, birds in the wild spend a great deal of time foraging for food, so her love of foraging sets a good example for other companion birds out there.

Her favorite 'meal' is sprouts, but she also loves peanut butter, unshelled almonds, blood oranges and spaghetti in marinara sauce. Of course she likes marinara sauce. After all, red is her favorite color since it matches her tail!

Raz admits that Carly Lu does have a "thing" for red haired men! Let's just say that when they take trips to the beach, she has been known to drop her mom like a red-hot potato at the sight of a red-haired surfer dude! She is such a little flirt!

Carly Lu hatched December 21, 2004. Here she is just a wee little peeper. Isn't this the sweetest - just look at that face!

As you might imagine, being an African Grey she does make a sound or two! Some of her favorites (signature sounds, if you will), are:

Nowwwww what??
Bridge Over River Kwai (tune)
Rotten Porker
How Fat You are!


I'm not sure where to go with those last two. So I better just leave them alone!

Two things that make Carly Lu unique are:

1) She has her own blog (see the link at the end of this post); and
2) The blog is about her adventures in freeflight!

Freeflight is the process of flying a bird outdoors without restraint.

As you can imagine, this is not something that one decides to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon!

Freeflight is incredibly risky and dangerous, and thus requires a great deal of commitment, knowledge, training, preparation and working with those experienced in this type of flight (a mentor).

The companion, and the bird, go through rigorous training and preparation before even contemplating the great outdoors. In fact, Carly Lu's first outdoor flights were in a harness.

It is not for everyone or every bird to be certain. Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories of folks who felt sure that their birds loved them so much that they would never fly away... and, you can guess the awful result. Our companion birds are ill-equipped to fend for themselves in the wild whether it is finding and recognizing food or avoiding many deadly predators such as hawks.
Carly Lu herself had a run in with a hawk one time resulting in being gone overnight and a talon mark in her side. So, it is serious stuff. I would equate it to climbing Mount Everest. It takes years of serious commitment, training, conditioning and preparation. Anyone who decides one afternoon to go for a hike on one of the world's tallest mountains is not likely to live to tell the story.

But Carly Lu and Raz have the commitment, resources, training, and most of all have put in the hard work resulting in the ability to free fly and some interesting stories! (Like the time when Carly Lu was not paying attention and flew into the leg of a jogger on the beach... I hate when that happens!) Wait a minute... did that man have red hair...

Oh, excuse me kind sir, I just accidentally flew into your leg!
Nowwwww what?? !!!

Carly Lu and Raz also have a great deal to offer in the way of education and insight into a realm that most of us will only read about. On their blog, they chronicle the good and the bad, the struggles and the triumphs, right along with the challenges....

And the pictures are awesome!

You will find the blog packed full of solid training advice that can be applied whether one is teaching a step up, recall in the house, or contemplating harness training a bird. It is an excellent resource for all things bird related.

Oh, before I forget - I wanted to provide links to two articles on the topic of freeflight written by professionals in the field:

Learning How Professionals at NEI Train Birds to Fly Outdoors Safely
By Deb Stambul

To Fly or Not To Fly - That is the Question
By Steve Martin

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Carly Lu and her mom Raz - readers of the Living With Parrots Cage Free blog!

For more on their adventures and the great beach photos, check out:
Carly Lu's Flight Blog.

Carly, mid-flip, eyes closed! © Hillary Hankey 2007.



Shirley Morgan said...

Wonderful post on free-flight! Informative, funny, heart-warming - WHEN is your book coming out?

Rachel said...

Nolan says he hopes you keep on featuring female CAGs on your blog Robin! :D

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