Caique Spikey LeBec Hairdresser Extraordinaire
by Sally Blanchard
There is nothing subtle about a Caique. Their body language is easily readable. When they dislike something or someone, there is no question about it. If Spike does not like someone in my house, he can rigidly stand for hours in the corner of his cage staring at them intensely. When these little parrots are trying to impress, they strut and puff like a caricature of themselves. Caiques are natural “hams” delighting in the drama of human response. In my seminars, as an illustration of why I don’t like Spike on my shoulder, I put him there giving him permission to be there with the “OK” command. Without my permission, he immediately climbs up and starts ratting around in my hair with some sort of displaced “leaf bathing” behavior — which I started calling “hair surfing” within a few days after he came to live with me. It quickly became part of his performance at parrot programs and conventions. As he rubs his face through a tuft of hair, he often looks up to see if the audience is responding. I attended a Florida conference with Spikey in the early 1990s and to get donations for avian medicine, we charged $20.00 for a hair surf from Spike. Of course, I didn’t let him surf in hair that had hair spray or other such chemicals in it. One woman even rushed up to her hotel room and washed, rinsed with water, and semi-dried her hair so she could have Spike “surf” in it. A person could also just get a photo holding Spike for $10 if they didn't want their hair messed with. One balding man said he had to miss the fun because Spikey would have nothing to surf in. Spike was a busy little guy and we made over $400.00. Spikey loved the attention he got but he was a very tired little boy after that evening!It is obvious when a Caique likes something. They dissolve into ecstasy. Spike seems to go into a hypnotic trance when I lay him on his back and “skritch” the fuzzy feathers around his beak.