Conquering an Illegitimate Fear of Large Birds

by Claire H. on January 22, 2014

Cabela and me

Cabela and me

Working here I have had the chance to see a lot of things, but this morning I had a new first, which was actually a big deal for me. I just happened to have stepped into the photo studio when I saw Jeff with a carrier containing something. “Oh, I want to see whatcha got,” I told him. “Well, which something are you wanting to see,” was his response. That’s when I realized there was quite a few different containers in the studio. A lady followed behind with one last carrier and the fun began… and my fear kicked in a little.

There was birds; nine of them total! I almost died laughing when Gayle, their mom, went to open one of the carriers and the Blue-and-Gold Macaw inside sounded like a growling dog. Once all the birds were out of their carriers I was in awe at the beauty before me. There was a variety of birds, and they were all doing their own thing. I was looking at the Blue-and-Gold Macaws while kneeling down, resting one hand on a tote with a Military Macaw (Cabela) perched at the other end. I turned to see her headed my way but assumed since I was a stranger she would probably have no interest in coming right up to me, let alone ON me. Boy was I wrong.

A few of Gayle's birds

A few of Gayle's birds


Cabela walked right up to me, got onto my hand, and then proceeded to walk up my sleeve onto my shoulder. I was paralyzed in fear. I’m not proud to admit it, but it’s the truth. I have never handled a bird larger than a Cockatiel and didn’t know what to do. I’m sure to those around me my face was priceless, since they started talking about how you can tell when a person has never held a larger bird before. Cabela spent a few minutes on my shoulder, and then Gayle came and took her, placing her with the Blue-and-Gold Macaws.

I came back to my desk to grab my phone for a few photos, and when I got back Cabela climbed down to the floor and walked over to me, stepping on the foot of my boot. Candi, our animal charmer, has told me many times that birds choose their people, so I knew I was in the clear to not be so afraid. I also felt honored that Cabela picked me to befriend on such short notice. After she was back by the Blue-and-Gold Macaws and I had taken a few photos, she kept scooting across the edge towards me. I said, “I think this is your way of telling me that you would like to come back up.” Her mom told me that it was so I offered my hand to Cabela to climb on and she climbed up to my shoulder no problem. We took a few photos with my phone, and she was definitely posing for the pictures and moving to make sure she could see herself in the frame.

Do you have a story about overcoming your fear of a certain pet?


Claire is a mom to three children. She has owned dogs and cats in the past, and currently has one calico cat named Potatoe. Although never owning them, she is very interested in reptiles, and has assisted friends in the past who owned a reptile store.

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