Bird Brain

I’m tired of trip talk, so I figured I would compose some deep philosophical collection of insights or talk about birds. I flipped a coin…

I have had two birds in my life. Skeeter was a manic Lovebird that died an early death due to falling from the top of his cage. It was very traumatic for both of us.

Gonzo was a cockatiel and lived to be 15 years old, choosing to pass away while I was on my first business trip ever (New York) around three years ago. My mom had to keep him in the freezer until I could come home and we could have a proper burial. It was very traumatic for all three of us (especially Gonzo.)

Pretty bird, indeed.

Gonzo could say one thing, “Pretty bird,” but chose to whistle quite an array of notes. Most popular on his play list was a wolf-whistle and the “da-da-da-DA-da-da!” thing that comes before “charge!” (He never said “charge,” but we just went with it.) At night we would cover his cage with a Peanuts bedsheet and he would cuddle with his pacifier/girlfriend toy hanging from his cage, closing his little bird eyes and rubbing the top of his head on the strings.

Minus the occasional feathered freak-out, he was a gem.

The guy I dated for entirely too long had a Quaker parrot that was like this little sharp-beaked person. He could say a lot of things that actually made sense: “Bad birds go to jail” when he was being put back in his cage for biting someone (usually me. He was a jealous bastard); “Trigger want a bath” when they put him in the sink; “Bless you,” “I love you” and “Good night, sleep tight” at appropriate times. This was more than 10 years ago, so his go-to conversation starter was singing “Mr. Big Stuff” from the Burger King commercials.

He loved mashed potatoes and my flesh.

It was cute the first 1,000 times. After that, “Loud birds shut their mouths” was introduced into the vocabulary, but never quite caught on. But the funniest thing about this bird was that he had an array of seemingly innocent plastic toy rings hanging from the top of his cage.

These are kind of what I'm talking about.

One day we were in the other room and heard the strangest sound, almost like a panting with a couple little squeaks thrown in. We walked into the bird’s room and it stopped, so we went back out. A couple minutes later it started back up again, so we quietly crept back around the corner to see what he was doing.

The little feathered freak had one bird leg straddled over the rings and was humping away like a parrot porn star.

From that point on, any time we heard the rings rattling and the panting coming from that area of the house, we just gave him his space and let him do his thing.

But there was the time when the boyfriend and me were on vacation and his mom — who was bird sitting— called us frantic one night because something was “tragically wrong with Trigger.” She said he was having seizures on his rings and was taking shallow breaths and moaning.

It was at that point that the little dude won my heart over once again, as anything that could be done to rattle that old bat’s cage and distract her from commenting on my “wild” hair colors or choice of clothing was a much welcomed break.

Anyway, I don’t have a bird now, and quite honestly, I probably never will again. But it was fun while it lasted and as long as someone else owns it, I still think they’re pretty neat—especially when they go grocery shopping.

Don’t ask me why, but I love this. A bird after my own food-loving heart–and not my flesh.

8 responses to “Bird Brain

  1. Abby, this is an awesome post. It definitely has me smiling right now. My aunt would take care of me when I was little and she had 3 parakeets. I was honestly kind of terrified of them. And I still do not love birds. They are a little creepy, to be honest. But I have to say that I wish I had a bird that could talk to me. I feel like it would add a lot more laughter to my life. But I think Ginger would want to eat it.

  2. Like Astrid, birds kinda creep me out as well. But your bird was so beautiful! I never really had a pet (unless you count the 17 day stint fostering a psycho 11 pound dog) but always wanted one. I can tell your bird really made you smile. Your post is making me smile now, too 🙂

    • Ha. Thanks, but that’s just a stock picture of the bird. I have pictures of Gonzo of course, but they’re buried somewhere at my mom’s and don’t have a scanner to scan them in. Just pretend that’s him, except he had brighter cheeks… 😉

  3. Hahahahaha! Thanks for brightening my day 🙂

    I’ve never had a bird, but my old neighbour had a parrot and I thought he was so cool. H e would say “tickle, tickle, tickle” in a realllly creepy voice sometimes if you walked by the cage 😛 Ad cool as it was, I much prefer dogs.

  4. I would love to have a bird, but my husband is totally against the idea. He thinks they are too loud and you can’t play with them.

  5. I never considered getting a bird. I don’t know why, but I just would feel bad for leaving it in the house all the time. I mean, I would never play with it or anything. I’m one of those that think birds should stay in the sky and fish should stay in the sea were they can be more free. Well, except for the ones I eat 😉 I’m more of a dog person I guess.

  6. Pingback: A need-to-know basis « I Have Issues

  7. I had a friend who rescued birds from bad homes. She had quite a collection, but my favorite was the Cockatoo. We had just reconnected and were talking on the phone for a short while, when he started getting restless. She said, “I have to go before he starts yelling ‘Get off the damn phone!’.” I lost it. She was serious. His previous home was not happy and full of shouting. This is one of the gems he learned there. That was almost 20 years ago, but it still kills me every time I think of it.

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