Callum Mackay and Rudy

Callum Mackay and his parrot, Rudy, take full advantage of a rare sunny February afternoon out at Mackay’s loft in Kelly. Rudy, a 45-year-old double yellow-headed Amazon, will likely see many more sunny days, given his life expectancy of up to 80 years.

Head out to Kelly and you might come across a bright colored bird wildly out of place in northwest Wyoming.

It belongs to 18-year-old Callum Mackay, a high school senior who, since birth, has known only the life of a bird parent.

The 45-year-old double yellow-headed Amazon parrot was rescued by Mackay’s mother before her son was born, and as the boy grew older the parrot took to him for reasons he’s still not quite sure of.

“Widely loved for their very intelligent and inquisitive personality,” at least, according to PetGuide.com, the double yellow-headed Amazon is lauded for its “incredible ability to speak and mimic.

“Although they can sometimes be feisty, spoiled or hard-headed, with a little patience, you will get to know and love the true nature of your pet Amazon.”

Mackay confirms the latter half of that description.

“People come over and they’re like, ‘How are you guys not insane?’” Mackay said. “It’s like having a perpetually annoying brother all the time.”

It’s something of a love-hate relationship in which Rudy — the double yellow-headed Amazon — hates everyone except Mackay and Mackay loves to hate the bird’s attachment.

The best part? Mackay is never really alone.

“It’s cool because I’ll be in my room doing homework and I won’t really be alone,” the teen said. “I’ll come into my house every day and he’ll be like, ‘Hello?’ and then I’ll go pick him up.”

The worst part? Rudy is a brute when Mackay has guests.

“He’ll go attack them,” he said. “If he’s on a chair and they walk through by my clothes, he’s latched on to them. I went to the vet, and they said he might be one of the strongest parrots they’ve ever seen.”

Mackay said Rudy can say only a handful of words, one of them being “mom,” which the bird shrieks over and over ever since picking up the tactic from Mackay when he was a toddler.

“I would yell ‘Mom!’ and he’d yell ‘Mom!’” Mackay said. “We would just be bombarding my mom, and then he figured out that by yelling ‘Mom!’ you could get basically anything you wanted.

“We’d be eating dinner and he’s just screaming. He knows we’re going to have to give him food. You can’t escape it.”

Also startling to veterinaries is Rudy’s acclimation to the Wyoming climate. Though birds like Rudy thrive in warm, tropical climates, the parrot doesn’t show much aversion to winter weather.

“I don’t know what this bird’s deal is,” Mackay said, “but he’s been fine in the cold.”

That includes walks and bike rides, during which Mackay tosses Rudy from the handlebars and the parrot gets his exercise flying around.

The toss is off limits in the snow, one of the many hang-ups Rudy has.

Another of the bird’s hang-ups is never wanting to be alone. Mackay said mornings getting ready for school require tip-toeing, because if Rudy knows he is up the bird will capitalize on his vocal abilities.

“It’s hard in the morning,” Mackay said. “If I’m up in my room he’s got really good ears, so if I make too much noise he just starts screaming and I have to go get him. And I’m not trying to wake up to that.”

Rudy could live up to 80 years, so even with hopes of traveling one day, Mackay knows he’s on the hook for the parrot’s well-being well into the future.

But Mackay is planning to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, where he will get a reprieve from Rudy’s shrieking.

Before Mackay can buy his books though, he must find an interim owner for his pet, a task perhaps much taller than getting accepted into college.

“It’s hard to find a caretaker for this bird,” Mackay said. “Because, you know, the bird will hurt them.” 

Contact Chance Q. Cook at 732-7065, sports@jhnewsandguide.com.

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