SUNOL IS THE SORT OF PLACE where you just
might see a fellow out for a stroll with his Macaw. And when
you stopped and rolled down your car window to ask about the
big, colorful bird on the fellow's shoulder, he might stick
his hand in your car window to shake yours and introduce himself.
Such moments are the making of our wonderful Sunol animal tales.
The fellow with the macaw is Frank Anderson, and the bird is
Max, who, by rights, should probably be Maxine, given that she's
a she, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Although they look like
a man and pet that have been together for years, Frank adopted
Max only three months ago. She is a 23-year-old Blue and Gold
Macaw and was imported - when it was still legal to do so -
from the Amazon as a baby.
When Frank and Max met, she had been living in a very traumatic
situation, locked in a cage and never let out for 22 years.
A full-grown Macaw usually weighs about 2-1/2 pounds and Max
weighed in at barely a pound. Her owners didn't know Max was
female until she suddenly produced an egg four years ago. "When
I took her to the doctor," Frank said, "He told me
that kind of incarceration will make a bird psychotic, and that,
yes, she was crazy. But he said that she would recover from
traumatic stress much faster than a person can."
Max's resilience is evident. In just three months with Frank,
she's gained half a pound, developed trust and affection for
her rescuer, and become a major fan of a nice walk on a pretty
day. Her best friend is Tyson, a cat with one eye belonging
to Frank's son, Josiah, 17. When Frank begins talking about
his pride and affection throw a big grin across his face. "He's
a wonderful kid," Frank said. "He's doing great in
school, he's got a job in a print shop and he takes extra classes
at community college."
Frank is a Sr. Process Maintenance Technician for LifeScan,
Inc. of Milpitas, a company that makes diabetes meters and strips.
He talked enthusiastically about the importance of the development
of products that help people with diabetes. Max may have had
some terrible luck in her past, but it looks like she is one
lucky Macaw to have been rescued by Frank Anderson. Kudos to
a man with a lot of nurturing, caring energy to give at home,
at work, and on a stroll with his beautiful, happy Macaw.
ALAMEDA CREEK ALLIANCE NEWS: ACA had its March meeting
in Sunol Tuesday, and ACA Director Jeff Miller reported that
four adult steelhead trout were documented recently in the Alameda
Creek flood control channel below the Fremont BART weir. A male
and female were seen together exhibiting spawning behavior in
a pool just downstream of the BART tracks. ACA volunteers seined
the pool and captured three adult males, all about 28 inches
in length, but were unable to capture the female. "Two
of the fish appeared to have clipped adipose fins - indicating
likely hatchery origin - and one had adipose intact," Jeff
explained. "The male fish that appeared to be wild was
not moved upstream since we did not get the female fish."
If you are interested in volunteering, ACA needs help in April
distributing information brochures and talk to creekside residents
about the Alameda Creek watershed and the steelhead restoration.
"We will be distributing the brochures for two to four
hours each weekend in April," Jeff said. Please contact
him at 510-845-2233 if you can help.