The Sharp End of the Parrot

My African Gray parrot, Bo Dangles, is quite a character. She talks, she hangs by her beak, she takes baths, and she attacks my feet. I imagine because she doesn’t have toes, she finds them an abomination. She is most likely to eat new foods and loves her veggies.

I try to find new experiences for her. My biggest accomplishment has been getting her to walk out on a platform that I hold up to her cage shelf. She then balances while I lower it to the floor and let her have the run of the office. Well, my side of the office. I put up a barrier to keep her from turning Mike’s desk into toothpicks.

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Bo Dangles

I have to do a poop patrol afterward. The carpet was old when we moved in 15 years ago, so the fact that she is pulling out the fabric is not a big deal. Bo is very good about going to a particular place she likes to let me offer her the platform again. She climbs on and then gets back on one of the shelves in her cage.

Major accomplishment 2 is being able to scratch her head with the door to the cage closed. She will even take some foods from me occasionally. But I have to watch her eyes so that when she is in a bitey mood, I can withdraw my fingers in time.

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Experiments that didn’t work out well include giving her a deep tub of water for bathing. She wanted nothing to do with that. Also taking her outside for some sunshine. Totally terrified of the outside world. Would not go inside a cage I had set up for her out on the patio.

She’s watched Blind Io destroying his foraging box, so when I cleaned her cage yesterday, I put such a box together for her. I had other elements to use for her, including a spool of register or adding machine tape. As I was putting all this stuff together for her, she kept stretching up as far as she could off the floor and looking into her cage. The first thing she went for was the roll of paper. She excels at ripping and shredding.

060417 one shade of grey

Bobo hasn’t been too put out when I take her into the living room and set her on the ottoman for my chair. She looks around and wonders why I don’t let her scoot around there. I did try that once and she came right back toward the office. I’ve put her in the dining room, on the floor, and she didn’t seem to mind that so much. But I get the feeling she much prefers the regular everyday patterns.

Whenever I need to get something from Mike’s desk and the barrier is up, once I step over it, Bobo moves to wait until I come back. She sees this as a perfect opportunity to wait in ambush for my foot to come back over the barrier. She lunges at me, does a light sort of bite, and laughs evilly.

060417 think you are in charge

Another victim of her evil biting ways is my dog, Tilda. I share my apple almost daily with Tilda and Bobo. The dog eats much more quickly than the parrot. Tilda will sit and whimper while Bobo eats the slice, wanting me to take it away from Bo and give it to the dog. When Bo has finished eating as much as she wants, she will wander away and chew on other things, like the rug or the furniture. Tilda gets to hoover up the rest of the apple bits left behind. She learned early on that trying to take the apple while Bobo was there would earn the dog a bite or two.

I have a side table that keeps important things like my computer CPU and my lamp off the floor. I have a bird cage, imagine that, at the end of the table. There’s a small opening to a little cave-like area where Tilda loves to sleep. She feels safe in there, apparently. Recently, Bobo headed toward the narrow opening, apparently making mischief and hungry for a little puppy blood. Tilda saw her coming and slithered under the canary cage to make her escape from the sharp end of the parrot. I am impressed that Tilda could fit under there.

060417 not end well

In spite of her tricks and her evil laugh, Bobo is very entertaining. When I handed out treats this morning, she said, “It’s Bobo!” Just to be sure I didn’t forget about her.

My biggest dream is to reach an understanding with Bo so she will let me pick her up and hold her. We would both enjoy that, as long as there was no biting on either side. With that goal in mind, I have started letting Bobo nip at the back of my hands. The bites are gentle and she seems to really like getting her tongue on me. As if she realizes that the back of my hand presents little opportunities for her to grab and bite anything, she moves her beak around to the sides and bottom, hoping to get a good grip. But so far, we have enjoyed a cease-fire during these moments. She’s an awesome, smart, and funny bird. I think she knows how much I love her.

Bo on towel

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

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