Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Adult red fan (hawk-headed) parrot, Deroptyus a. accipitrinus.

(Adults of both sexes are distinguished from juveniles
by the creamy white spot on the forehead
and the orange ring around the pupil of the eye.
The skin around the eye darkens in adults if
the birds are exposed to sunlight).

Image: Dale R. Thompson.

As you probably remember, about six weeks ago, a reader got me a young, newly-weaned hawk-headed parrot, Deroptyus a. accipitrinus, for a pet. I preferred not to name this bird until after I knew what sex s/he was, but I had chosen two names, one for each sex. Those names were Persephone for a female or (thanks to a reader) Orpheus for a male. So, I learned the bird’s sex today, and my new bird’s name is ..


the bird has also grown into the nickname, “pipsqueek”.


  1. #1 Marilyn Terrell
    December 12, 2007

    Welcome Orpheus! Congratulations to you for making me click to find out your name.
    I just came across this story of a family that sold their gray parrot named Molly because she wouldn’t stop cursing, and then they found this potato chip that looked like her:

  2. #2 Kathy Heaton
    December 12, 2007

    ‘Way to go, Devorah… I wish a long, happy, and mutually beneficial relationship for you and little Orphie! (sorry, couldn’t resist )
    Houston TX

    The American Federation of Aviculture, Inc.®
    Working Together for the Future of Aviculture
    Visit AFA online

  3. #3 carolyn13
    December 13, 2007

    My curiousity is satisfied, and I had a hunch The Bird was male. Only a guy could wreck so much destruction and be so sweet when somebody else is doing the cooking.

  4. #4 Bob O'H
    December 13, 2007

    Will you be teaching Orpheus to dance the can-can?


  5. #5 The Ridger
    December 13, 2007

    Just curious here: what does “weaned” mean for a bird? My only exposure to this word in a non-figurative sense is for young mammals ceasing to nurse, but that can’t be what you mean unless parrots are very strange birds indeed!

  6. #6 Karen
    December 13, 2007

    When are we going to get to see his picture?

  7. #7 "GrrlScientist"
    December 13, 2007

    the digital camera is on its way and is predicted to arrive tomorrow in the mail. i will try to post a picture or two of the feathery mischief-maker over the weekend (provided, of course, that i can find free wifi access!)

  8. #8 Diane in Ohio
    December 13, 2007

    Oh,how wonderful for you that it is a male! Now you don’t have to put up with all the laying and isolation from your sweet pet!! What a blessing. I had kepted my last “hand-raised” baby Lovebird for a pet but found it laid eggs within a year and now at 5 yrs. old lays year round. I never get any quality time anymore ….:o(

  9. #9 Tlazolteotl
    December 14, 2007


    Have you checked with an avian vet? Hormone injections are available to suppress ovulation, and this can be a good thing for a hen that won’t stop laying.

    Congratulations on your Orpheus, Grrl!

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