I might get letters if I ever posted an address. I might even get emails if I put that up here somewhere. I get some comments. But in real life I get questions all the time. Here are some fun ones.
Q. What is he/she saying?
A. We have no idea. Well, we might have some idea. But if you can’t figure it out, we probably can’t, either. Beeby, our psycho Half Moon conure, talks in the cutest cartoon voice you ever heard. Someday I hope to catch it on video, because I love it so much. Even though he likes to bite everyone and throws himself across the cage trying to attack us, he once was a sweet boy, and sat happily on my shoulder telling me all about his life. Once we took him in to have his wings clipped, the honeymoon was over. He started biting anything that looked like a hand.
Bobo, female Congo African Grey, says a few things you can make out. I’m sorry. “Got water? Apple? Corneee? (We don’t know why she puts the E sound after corn) Are you okay? Honey.” But after that, she mostly sounds like a one-sided phone conversation, and some grumblings. Her original owner was Korean, married to a Japanese. They kept pugs with Chinese names. Bobo has a good ear, and makes lots of sounds. But the grumbling and talking are not very easy to make out.
Io, the male CAG, came from the same home as Bobo. He doesn’t talk, but he makes lots of great noises. He sometimes whimpers like an overweight pug wanting to go out. The closest he gets to talking is to say, “Whoooop-oh!” No idea what that means to him. But he’s our Whoop-oh Bird.
Wraith is an Indian Ringneck, a year and a half old, and not tame but does like some interaction with Mike. As long as Mike keeps his hands in his pockets. Wraith can meow well enough to confuse our cat. He can do our timer we use for tea. And he babbles a bit. If we had room to put him in the office with us, I know his vocabulary would increase.
The real star of our show is Maynard, a double yellow head Amazon. He does talk, and says things at appropriate times. He will say “Hi! Good Morning” first thing in the morning. He says “I Love You! Hi, Maynard! Good boy, Maynard! How are you? Hello cracker?” And if we go away, he says, “Bye!” If he wants me to come to him, he says, “Come on! Come here!” and whistles like he’s calling a dog. And if he hears me singing, he starts to sing his own song, which has a “Baby!” in it. If he hears anyone laughing, he will join in. But it’s disturbing when he’s sitting in his cage and it’s been quiet, and he laughs slowly, with just the right amount of evil.
Maynard also has the one-sided phone conversation thing going. We don’t know what he says, but it has a rhythm to it. Gobba gobba gobba gobba. (Pause) Yeah. Gobba gobba gobba gobba? (pause) Yeah. Maynard has a particular scream he gives, then he says, “Watch out!” Then he starts to scream if he isn’t let out of his cage or put on the floor where he wants to be. If I go out of his view, he starts calling for “Mama! Mama!” followed shortly by “HELP!” if I don’t come back or at least answer him.
For an Amazon, Maynard has many characteristics in common with a chihuahua. He is happiest if he can waddle around on the floor. He likes to hump my feet. He likes to chew on my fingers and roll on his back on my lap. If Mike walks by, he lunges or goes for the ankles. We have to put a gate up to keep him from going places he shouldn’t go. He’ll chase fabric if it’s thrown, and plays tug with the towel after a bath.
He’s quite spoiled, and even though Mike disagrees, Maynard came to us already that way. Just because I will let him out of his cage when he screams doesn’t mean anything. And when he is humping my feet, he makes the cutest sound, like a mini sewing machine. You can pick up a hint of it in this video, and don’t laugh at the music in the background. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vCatPcpycg
I brought Maynard to my support group meeting recently, and we had a great time with him. He stayed very calm around the new people, and every time the group leader walked past him, he would laugh. She grew self-conscious about it.
We had so much fun at that meeting, I decided to take him a few days later to my bird club meeting. I gave a ride to the two friends from whom I received Maynard. They were thrilled to see him, and at the meeting, tried to interact with him. They were successful to some extent, although Maynard bit first one and then the other. And he stayed very close to me the whole time. I think he was concerned that I had had enough and wanted to give him back.
Just four short months since he came to live with me, and I can’t imagine living without him. He’s got nothing to worry about this time, he’s home to stay.