Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flying is for the Birds

My name is Cayenne, and I am an African Grey parrot.

I have lived with my mother since I was only four months old. I was 15 years old in April.

My mother joined the Foreign Service when I was 8, and since then, I have had to get used to this travelling thing. Mostly I have had to get used to my mother's fretting about the travelling thing.

When we went to Jerusalem, no one told my mom that I needed something called a CITES certificate. The officials at the airports in Tel Aviv didn't seem to know that either. They never asked for one. Of course, they also didn't ask for the USDA form that is also required. So maybe they just don't know.

Anyway, this CITES certificate is something about importing and exporting exotic species. I'm not sure why this applies to me, since I was born in Mississippi. I guess Mississippi is sort of exotic....

Anyway, mom didn't know this was a problem until we were coming back from Jerusalem. That is when someone told her that she was not allowed to import me from Israel because they had bird flu.

She told them she wasn't importing me, that like her, I am a native Southerner. And that the bird flu was only in Gaza, and that I was never allowed to leave our apartment in Jerusalem.

They didn't seem to care. They said she had to get a CITES permit or I would be put down when we got to the States.

Not sure why that is a big deal...mom holds me and then puts me down every day. But she seemed really upset. I got a lot of hugs during that period.

Anyway, it all worked out. They accepted my hatch certificate from Mississippi and she got the permit. I did have to stay at this fancy hotel in New York for 30 days, but mom was more upset about that than I was. This nice lady talked to me every day and gave me some medicine she said was just in case I brought anything nasty back with me. She even let me have some of my toys and my own food with me.

The point of all of this is that this time, mom is making sure she gets that CITES permit so I can both go overseas with her and come home again at the end of the tour. Because you know, we Greys live 25 to 50 years on average, so I am still pretty young. I bet I'll get to see mom retire.

So if you are travelling with your bird, you should check and see if they need that permit too. Just in case. You can find the info about it here and here.

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