Julio was a yellow-headed Amazon parrot with vivid green body feathers, a yellow head, and red-and-blue markings on his wings. Dad named him after his good friend Julio Pacini. He captivated us, but his true allegiance was to my father, who had bottle-fed him from a young age until Julio could eat on his own. A worker at the company had given the bird to my father, who was not in favor of taking animals from the wild, but he graciously accepted the gift knowing Julio could not be returned to his nest.
A skilled carpenter, my dad built Julio a sturdy and spacious cage for the short time it would take for him to grow from a fledgling into an adult parrot. When Julio was old enough to fend for himself, Dad planned to release him, a sad fact that we kids had to accept, for as my father said, “He was meant to be free.”
Freed, Julio flew off and we did not spot him for days, even though every evening we would bang his tin feeding dish on the garden wall beside our front patio, then hold our breath, wondering if he would ever return. On his fifth day of freedom, and every day thereafter, he would swoop down from the adjacent trees to devour his dinner. When we left Trinidad, our neighbor adopted Julio, and he always flew free.