Monday, November 27, 2006
I am posting this from the floor of my bedroom. Why?
Because my bird is out. 'trollin the floor for something good.
I let Lily out of his cage because he makes an incredible fuss while I do Pilates. Mostly because he is an attention mongerer and is needy and will screech until you respond to him, but the anthropomorphic part of me hopes and wishes and thinks that it is because he sees me lying on the floor, groaning occasionally and believes that I am wounded or ill and is trying to contact help by screeching as loudly as possible. I think that this is probably unlikely, but it helps me tolerate his incessant noise. He also attracts attention to himself by pretending to be mortally wounded. When I stand just outside my bedroom door, talking to someone, he hangs off his perch and makes his pathetic screech sound, the one he makes when he's terrified. He lets one of his wings hang as if it's broken, and launches his body off the side of the perch, literally hanging by a toenail. This worked for a long time. I'd turn and see him there, half-dead, and run into my room, panicked. I would make a fuss after him, ask him in a high pitched voice "Is my little baby bird OK?" and give him a piece of spinach because he had clearly just been through some sort of "ordeal." I finally realized one day that everytime he pulls that stunt and I run to his cage, he rights himself on the perch, fluffs out his feathers so he looks nice and plump, and then grinds his beak, a sign of cockatiel contentment. CONTENTMENT! Content that his little game worked indeed! Smart bird.
I like to sit with him on the floor because if I don't he could eat something that fell there and get sick or choke. He could also quietly and quickly destroy something - you name it, he can wreck it. I bet you wouldn't guess that a mere cockatiel could break a Smith College Wedgewood china plate from 1932, would you? Oh but he can - and did, which resulted in my Smith College plate collection's migration to storage. He also chews things, like electrical cords, though he did chew a metal chain literally off my neck, bending and twisting the loop of metal until it gave way. He has also mastered the art of disconnecting the chain to my fan, though we let him do this for the sheer entertainment of it. Lily (who is a boy, by despite the "House of Mirth" reference) has even sampled some of my houseplants in the past. He has an affinity for lettuce, so if he sees anything green and leafy, his little cockatiel brain automatically registers "lettuce," and he goes for it. Though my houseplants are all bird-friendly, I don't like the idea of my bird eating an exotic plant, so this has resulted in my grabbing a cranky bird and fishing the bits of leaf out of his beak, something he really hates. He once stepped on my cactus, which I thought inaccessible, but he somehow managed to take flight and land on top of it. Luckily my hand had come in contact with said cactus MANY times before (never put a cactus near your alarm clock. EVER) so I knew to look for the tiny, nearly invisible cacti hairs that had embedded themselves in his foot - I had to pick them out, one at a time, with my tweezermans. Unlike my evil parakeet, Lucy (who stabbed herself in the head with a piece of stray wire and bled over the upper half of her body, then sprayed blood on my wall, curtains, and blinds, all hours before leaving for a 12 horu road trip), Lily has spared me of any true first aid fiasco...knock on wood.
Despite his mischievous tendencies, Lily is a great pet. He's a sweet little thing, and very intelligent. He has funny habits, like a foot and shoe obsession. Right now he is singing to my slipper, sneaking up, touching it quickly with his beak and then running away to see what happens. Demented. He also seems to know when someone is naked. I run into my room from the shower and he's climb to the top of his cage and wolf whistle. Perverted, yet hilarious. He whistles "Charge" "Gaudeamus Igitur" and the first line of "Dixie" as well as his own little tunes. His vocabulary is impressive for a cockatiel - they usually can't talk, but Lily says "Hi bird" "Hi birdy" "Hi pretty birdy" "Hi Lily" and "Hi pretty Lily" He can say "How are you" and "I love you" but he mostly says these to himself when he thinks no one is listening cause he's bitchy like that. He used to say "Hi Benny" when my wee parakeet Ben was alive, but she has died, and Lily has forgotten how to say "Ben."
Now Lily has made up a game that consists of him flying to out-of-reach places in my room and me trying to chase him. When I get close enough to him, he bites me. Awesome. A day in the life with Lily bird :)