Roy’s story was reported in newspapers throughout the world. I believe that he had one caregiver whom he loved deeply; he still mentions her name and calls for her. She died when he was 24 and he was heartbroken and unprepared for life without her. To make matters worse, the caregiver’s husband found a new partner and Roy was moved into a small cage in the garage where he remained for 3 years, on his own, with only a brass bell for company. A house move meant that Roy was surplus to requirements, and a bird rescue was called to collect him. By this time, Roy had plucked out almost all of his feathers.
I met Roy in October 2013, and I had never witnessed a more traumatized and emotionally shut down parrot such as the Roy that I first saw, who was frightened and weary of my family and me. Roy was frightened of the cage door being closed on him, so I removed the door. He reacted to any desire on my part to touch him by biting, so I avoided touching him. If I went too close to his cage, he would mutilate himself, so I gave him space.
Those first few months were difficult for all of us, as I set about teaching Roy to live and trust once more. It has been a difficult and emotional journey for us all, but I am delighted to report that in April 2015, Roy came out of his cage and has since made it his mission to turn my entire house into a nesting box! Roy wanders around the house and spends time with all family members. He talks to us, engages with us, and he no longer plucks his feathers.