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I've lived with Peachfront Conures Aratinga aurea for 30 years. I've bred 'em, trained 'em, even visited Bolivia to observe them in the wild. For more about me, click right here.

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6:28 a.m. 2012-05-05

what would courtney do?

I've mentioned before that my Peachfronted Conures are set up on a screened bird porch, where the lead male, Courtney, watches the skies for hawks and the lawn for cats. Each year, I have (among other wild bird species) a pair of Northern Cardinals who breed somewhere on or near my yard. Very, very often, they will try to put the nest right up in the bushes against the bird porch, although it isn't always possible in those years when I've hacked the bushes way down low. Sometimes the Cardinals raise as many as three broods in a year. For 2012, they have the dream set-up, with a froo-froo stone mosaic bird bath that the male Cardinal visits almost every day, in addition to the feeder of delicious leftover Peachfront Conure seed where both adults visit several times a day to select their treats. If you have ever watched this species during breeding season, you know that the male is often left with the job of policing and protecting the new fledglings from the first brood, while the female is hidden away on the new nests of eggs. It can be a tough job, especially since the male is expected to sing and defend the yard in addition to feeding and training his wayward youngsters, but I have the distinct impression that this year's male is taking advantage of Courtney the watchdog. He knows that Courtney will alert if there are any cats around. Maybe it's my imagination, but I've seen the male look right at Courtney when he thinks there might be a danger. He knows that if Courtney speaks up, it's for real. But if Courtney is calm, then it's just me coming out to putter in the yard and maybe add some new treats to the feeder.

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