Casper the cockatoo. PHOTO BY PATTY STOCKER

Casper the Cockatoo Finds Friendly Home in Dracut

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Editor’s Note: This is a follow up to an “Adoptable Pet” story WestfordCAT aired on our September 27 weekly news show. The segment, produced by WestfordCAT’s Patty Stocker, featured Casper the Cockatoo. The parrot had been given to the Lowell Humane Society and was in need of a new home.

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When a friend told Jennifer Warren of Dracut that the Lowell Humane Society had a cockatoo in need of a new home, she dashed there to take a look.

Casper had been put up for adoption by someone who was moving and couldn’t take pets along.

Warren’s home on the other hand is a menagerie of animals. She has chickens and two dogs — a blind Shiba Inu and an American eskimo. And then there are the birds: Chester, the hahns macaw, which she adopted from the Lowell Human Society about 18 months ago, and Pete, a blind macaw, around age 60.

By Friday, Sept. 28, Caspar was living with Warren, too — the newest in her collection.

“I fell in love with birds,” Warren said.

Her love affair began seven years ago when her brother-in-law, Kent, died suddenly leaving behind his wife, Susan, and Pete, the macaw. Susan was too busy to care for the bird so Warren took him. Disabled and at home all day, Warren found she liked having Pete there.

“He helped me through that,” she said.

Caspar is a quiet cockatoo, Warren said, but when she plays a Donna Summer song, the two groove to the music. In fact, any 80s music is a license to let go for Casper, who is believed to be about 20 years old. Otherwise, he spends most days on her shoulder or on top of his cage, only entering it at night to sleep.

“He’s a very cute bird and a great personality,” Warren said.

Sheila Blanchette of Methuen, who started a business four years ago called Heart of Feathers, is a certified parrot behavior consultant/trainer. She makes house calls to teach cockatoos — prone to screaming, biting and plucking — how to be more sociable.

“They’re the most wonderful bird in the world and they’re great, but you have to know what you’re getting into,” Blanchette said.

The birds can live from 50 to 75 years — possibly outliving their guardians, Blanchette said.

“Sadly, in their lifetime they will have between one and three guardians…,” she said. The transitions sometimes require a trip to the local animal shelter and a connection with a new guardian.

Warren said she always has an eye on the animals at the Lowell Humane Society.

“I will never buy an animal from a pet store when there are animals out there that need homes,” she said. “I save what I can.”