Unexpected Avian Entertainers

One reason many pet bird lovers give for having birds as pets is the entertainment value they bring just by being themselves. Sure, parrots and many birds can be training to do tricks, but none of the following fun events involved any training. These were all natural behaviors.

When I was a child, we had a parakeet whom my mother called Petey. He lived in a cage in our kitchen. Now, looking back on that, he didn’t live a very good life. No fresh food, in the kitchen where the fumes could kill him, and never out of his tiny cage. But he was a sweet bird. He loved to talk away, as long as no one watched him. As soon as we became aware that he was talking and looked up or over at his cage, he shut up. Just adorable.

At one time in my frantically-gathering-birds phase (which I am in the opposite of now, frantically-rehoming-birds) I was given two pairs ofGouldiann finches. One very beautiful male with a black head and purple breast we named Elliot. Elliot Gouldian. He did the usual hopping on a perch to get the attention of a girl, but he also had a drinking problem. We used Lixit water bottles with the ball at the end of a spigot. He would get under the spigot, lift the ball, drink for a while, then his head would wobble when he stopped. Like this is the best water ever! Dude!

I like to help fellow companion bird people when I can. I’ve bird sat a few sweet birds that will always have a place in my memory. One beautiful lory stayed several times. Bella learned to travel well, and we haven’t seen her in a while, but back in the day, she stayed here for a month. She loved to say “Give us a kiss” and then wait for you to put your lips up. Normally she was gentle. She loved wet paper towels as toys. And she loved small wiffle balls with bells inside. She would hold the ball in one foot and jump around her cage, making as much noise as she could. Bella always made me laugh when I saw that.

120416-wiffle-ball

One of my purple lovebirds is a youngster I named Tip, not for any real reason. I think I had been reading Gregory McGuire’s Out of Oz or something. Anyway, Tip came at the right time to be a friend to my current oldest lovebird, Blondie. They still aren’t the closest and most typical of lovebirds, but they do get along well. However, Tip being less than a year old, he has extra energy that needs to be burned off. He has a large pink Wiffle ball that he stands on while flapping his wings madly. When he can get the ball off the bottom of the cage, he starts to walk on it. I tell you, he must have been a circus performer in his last life.

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Beautiful Bella

Maynard has gotten a lot of press here about all the silly things he does. Lately, in an attempt to keep his water cleaner, I dunk his food for him. I swirl it through his water bowl then plop it into the food bowl. He seems to like this service.

Our blind Congo African Grey Parrot, Io, lived with a pair of pugs before we got him. Slowly over the years the pugs have stopped visiting. Now we have a terrier. Sometimes I can’t tell if the dog is crying and whimpering, or if it’s the Bird of a Thousand Noises.

My sweet lovebird Fin, the one with half his upper beak missing, has gotten along beautifully with his newest partner, Rebel. In fact, I gave them a nest box. They chewed up a lot of paper and laid 5 eggs. Not seeing any life there, so it’s possible I have two females here. I wish I could get a decent video of their paper shredding fun. I throw an envelope or two in every day. They chip away until there are lots of little strips, just like a shredding machine. Rebel tucks them into his or her tail feathers and carries them thus into the nest box. Fin, sadly, doesn’t really do the shredding. And without a proper beak, he can’t seem to get the strips into his feathers. But he doesn’t seem to mind so much. He’s got his partner and eggs to sit on. He also viciously attacks me when I get near the box. Gone are the days when he would cuddle in my hand on a cold morning.

rebel-bound-to-egg

Last note, Rebel managed to get an egg stuck to his feathers between his legs. He also managed to get up to the food dishes without breaking it. What a silly bird.

That’s pretty much the fun around here. I’m sure I can think of more and I have no doubt the birds are thinking up new entertainment for the days ahead. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.

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