The Bird Hours

In medieval times, women (mostly) and men of wealth carried or had nearby a Book of Hours. This small, beautifully illuminated manuscript contained prayers, psalms, Bible verses, and a ton of things that a devout Christian would do during the day. These are the primary types of manuscripts that survived to present day. I have had the pleasure of seeing one and holding it in my gloved hands.

My life is run more on the Bird Hours. Throughout the day, different birds are given out time, times to be out of their cages. The day starts at 5:30 AM on weekdays, when Fin and Rebel, violet lovebirds, get to run up to the cage where Tip (another violet) and Blondie (lutino) wait to gossip with them. Sometimes, Fin will come sit “with” me, either to chew on my hands, rings, and mouse, or if the weather is cool, to snuggle under my clothes. I love it when he falls asleep in my hand on the keyboard.


They are put away easily, being sweet little lovies. Then it’s time to walk the dog and do other things to get the day going. But once I come back to write for a while, the conures in the living room get out time, as well as the cockatiels in the back and Bo Dangles, our toeless Congo African grey parrot. She scoots around the floor, poops wherever, chews on everything, and makes me smile a hundred times per day. She will talk to the other birds and to the dog in a sweet voice, but if they get close, she will lunge at them.

081416 cropped bobo

After a couple hours, it’s time to put them back, with just a few minutes to clean Bo’s towel and give her fresh water. This is really difficult to do when she is in her cage, as she can climb around faster than you would expect. If she gets where you are before you notice, she will bite you and then say, “I’m sorry!” That’s one reason we call her Snap Chat.

Maynard gets the bulk of the afternoon for out time. He will climb up on my chair when I relax, or scoot under the dishwasher door while I clean and wash up. He climbs up the chairs around the dining room to see if anyone left him a tidbit.


He knows exactly when his out time should begin, too. If I am slow on putting away the other birds and letting him out, he will start yelling, “Hello!” I have no idea who taught him to read a clock.

When Mike gets home from work, Maynard has to go back to his cage. He’s okay with that, as long as he has fresh food and water waiting for him. And I share my dinner with him. And he gets his packaged crackers to play with after dinner. What was I thinking when I started that habit?


Nacho 1
Nacho the green check, sun conures in background.


Finally, after another dog walking, Fin and Rebel get to come out once more. Originally this was due to their having the smallest cage, but now it’s just a habit. When I get up and start to turn off lights, they know it’s time to scurry back inside the cage. And the Bird Hours are done for the day.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.

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