When I visited The Bird Shop Monday afternoon to replenish Bobo’s supply of Harrison’s Bird Food, I came across a shelf with a large display of Nutriberries, a bird treat that I used to buy for Bobo all the time but stopped buying them when I started baking my own recipe for Parrot Pot Pies. Nutriberries are indeed a treat for Bobo and I’m sure she considers them comfort food. They are essentially balls of seeds held together by a binder. Usually, Bobo’s seeds are carefully rationed to her and seed treats are rare. For the past 12 years, she has been limited to 1 teaspoon of seed PER WEEK. Bobo became very ill 12 years ago and was diagnosed with Vitamin A deficiency and malnutrition brought on by a lifetime of a bad, all seed diet fed to her by her original owner for 17 years, then by me in ignorance for another year. It was quite a challenge to wean Bobo off seeds and convert her diet to a more nutritious diet of pellets prepared specifically for large birds but she responded to the change and transitioned to the new food in less than two weeks. The transformation was astounding. When we used to give Bobo spray baths, her malnourished feathers soaked up the water and she looked like a drowning rat. Her body quickly began to respond to good nutrition, she became more active, and now when given a spray bath, the water just beads up and rolls off. Although Nutriberries are seed based treats, they are more nutritious than seeds alone because they are prepared with other things besides seeds. I decided to treat Bobo with some Nutriberries so I came home with a tub of them.
I placed a single Nutriberry in the “treat drawer” that Bobo has to open in order to access whatever is inside. Within a couple of minutes, she had extricated the treat and was happily munching away without stopping. Parrots are incredibly messy creatures and they’ll take a bite of something then drop it. Not the precious Nutriberry. She grasped it tightly in her talon and seemed to savor every bite. It took her almost 15 minutes for her to delicately devour the treat, more than enough time for me to set up the camera and take a few shots of her. She was so intent on eating her treat that she ignored me and my camera.