Birds are cool animals in many ways, not the least being that they can fly. Their brain may not be any bigger than a pea, but they can do something mankind has wanted to do from its earliest days. Sure, you can buy a ticket and go somewhere in an airplane, but you’re not really flying, you’re just riding. But you can flap your arms until they fall off and not accomplish something a sparrow does with ease.
As far as birds that people keep as pets, they can be cool too, as long as they belong to someone else. Birds are like babies and dogs – I’d rather play with yours and give them back than to live with one.
This is Jonathan, who our friend Nancy Kissack who writes the daily Kissack Adventures blog, raised from an egg. Jonathan is really a girl, and we get along very well.
I’ve had a couple of strange relationships with birds, even owning a few and always regretting it. At one time I owned an Amazon parrot that learned to imitate the ringing of my telephone (this was before the days of cell phones) and always waited until the wee hours of the morning to demonstrate his newfound skill. I’d wake up and trudge into the living room to answer the phone, only to be greeted with a dial tone and the darned bird grinning at me. (I call him “the bird” even though I didn’t know its gender and because I can’t use any of the names I called it in this blog.)
But that wasn’t the only irritating thing this bird was limited to. Always looking for ways to entertain himself, the feathered fruitcake discovered that wallpaper is tasty and proceeded to strip the wall behind his cage. I finally had to set the cage on the floor to keep him out of reach of anything his powerful beak could destroy.
At the time I also own a pair of very large purebred German shepherd dogs. Laser, the male, was a magnificent animal, well over 100 pounds and trained for protection. The bird learned to imitate my whistle and delighted in sounding off, bringing both dogs to full alert. The female, Sugar, was a bit smaller than her mate and a lot smarter, just like as is true in most human relationships. She quickly wised up to that game and just ignored it.
Not gullible Laser. He was ready to go play or fight every time he heard that whistle. The bird loved to wait quietly until Laser was asleep, dreaming doggie dreams, to whistle sharply, jolting him awake and ready for duty. This went on for a few weeks, and I knew a showdown was coming. Tired of my feathered companion’s maladjusted personality, I was already looking for a new home for him when he pushed the dog too far.
One afternoon I was reading and listening to some mellow music when there was a sharp alert whistle and Laser jumped to his feet, only to discover once again he had been tricked by a puny bird that weighed less than his favorite rawhide chew bone.
Another dog would have ripped open the cage and devoured the noisy critter in seconds and been done with it, but my dogs had a character all their own. Laser got a nasty gleam in his wolf-like eyes and strolled across the room to the bird’s cage, where he casually lifted his hind leg and did something he had been trained since puppyhood to only do outside. Seconds later the drenched parrot was shaking its head, blinking its eyes and spitting (if a parrot can spit) as it squawked in rage. Point made, Laser returned to his sleeping spot and resumed his nap, this time unmolested. The bird never whistled again.
Every once in a while in our travels we ran across RVers who traveled with birds, and I get the urge to have one. But then I remembered the noise and mess they made and decideed that I really don’t want a bird unless it’s baked and served up on a platter of Miss Terry’s delicious Basmati rice.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. I am excited about this week’s prize, an autographed copy of Outlaw Road, the second book in my good friend Billy Kring’s excellent Hunter Kincaid mystery series about a female Border Patrol agent who isn’t afraid of taking on the tough and dangerous cases, or of stepping on toes, to see justice done. A former Border Patrol Agent himself, as well as a writer and actor, Billy has worked as a consultant on terrorism and international border issues in such places as Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pan Pacific. He’s also one of the nicest men you will ever meet and my favorite author. I read every book Billy brings out the minute it is available. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I’m in big trouble if people find out I really don’t have Tourette’s.