Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pet Birds and Other Things

If anyone posted a REAL LIVE comment to this blog and didn't see it show up until now, it's because I've been spammed to death - so please forgive me!! 

As some of you know one of my pet birds met with an unfortunate end last week.  I slipped up just ONE time and my killer cat got the bird. I had Mrs. Greenberg, a peach faced lovebird, for over 7 years, so I had a good track record.

I sobbed and cried over the sweet little thing.   It was the most affectionate love bird I've ever had.  Never bit.  Loved to be petted and get it's feathers rubbed.  

But now that the dust has cleared, I am - I'm ashamed to say it - relieved.  I have too many pets, most of which were acquired from my daughter or, in the case of the cockatoo I have, Beasley, a rescue bird.

As much as I loved the little peach faced boy bird, he had some peculiar habits that grossed me out.  He thought he was about to find the love of his life every second, so he took to heaving up half digested food on favorite objects, making a sicky sweet smelling mess that hardened  into cement.  He did this on stuffed animals, he did this on the top of my new curtains, he did this on various toys in Beasley's cage.

I got the lovebird as a sort of companion to Beasley.  Cockatoos are very high maintenance parrots. They need constant love and attention, and, if you work full time, like I do, it's hard to satisfy that type of bird. He was a rescue from a local tourist attraction because he was a feather plucker and was no longer attractive for show purposes.  Poor baby - that immediately put me in his corner.  That and my daughter, then about 12 years old, begging me to bring him home.  Sucker that I am, I did.  I had always secretly wanted a parrot but don't think they should be pets, so I would never buy one, even if I could afford it.  

I bought him a giant cage.  At that time, I had a middle aged 13" beagle named Shady. Period.  No cats.  So Beasley was allowed to walk around the house, threatening to bite people's feet (my daughter ran up onto a chair more than once to save herself).  He rode on my shoulder, and slept in my bedroom in his giant cage that I bought and placed by a window looking out at a golf course.

Life changed when I got remarried and my daughter went off to college.  She tried to keep a cat in her dorm, got caught - I took the cat, incidentally, this is the killer cat that did in my lovebird last week - named Neko ("cat" in Japanese - I did not name him).

When my daughter moved to an apartment and took Neko back, my husband and Imissed him and wanted a cat, so we both went to the shelter and brought home Buster.  For some reason I can't remember, Neko became ours again. So now we have a very old 13" beagle, 2 cats and a big cockatoo.

Beasley decided he did NOT like my husband - his competition - and so he was relegated to my computer room, no longer sharing my bedroom.  He had slipped to second place in my attentions when home and he knew it, although I spend a LOT of time in my computer room.

A few years went by, Shady passed away, daughter got another kitten and over time decided to move to Colorado from Jacksonville, FL - as one does.  This kitten was the all time cutest, most adorable, most cuddly Maine Coon cat I'd ever seen.  I wanted him, and when Ashley moved, she let me keep him.  So now we are up to 3 cats and 1 cockatoo - Neko, Buster, Squeebles (best name EVER) and Beasley, the bird.

After hurricane Wilma in 2005, friends of ours brought over a peach faced lovebird that had been lost in the storm.  When they opened their front porch door after the storm passed, a small bird just walked in.  Luckily, they were looking down.  They had several cats and dogs and did NOT want to keep the poor little orphaned bird. We put up announcements and signs around the neighborhood, but no one came forward to claim him, so I now had acquired a peach faced lovebird.  Not knowing whether it was male or female, I named it "Mrs. Greenbird" or "Mrs. Greenberg", whichever came to mind.  Once I realized this bird would never lay an egg (as previous lovebirds I had in the past-and THAT is a whole 'nother story) as he was not a she, it became Mr. Greenbird/Greenberg.

Able to get in and out of the bars of Beasley's big cage, Mr. Greenbird could come and go and hang out with Beasley.  They got along famously and the big bird never tried to hurt the little bird, although he chased him around the cage now and then.  Beasley would wait patiently while Mr. Greenbird was belly deep in his food bowl eating Beasley's food or taking a bath in Beasley's water dish.

I only let Mr. Greenbird out during the day, but once he started chewing my books and my bookcases, as well as heebing (my term for his unfortunate upchucking for love habit) on curtains, stuffed animals and other various things, I curtailed his "out" time to when I was actually in the room.  Even then, he made a noise when he was preparing to upchuck food that positively made my hair stand on end.  I would have to put my headphones on so I couldn't hear it.  He couldn't help it - this is what male parrots do, although Beasley is a male and - THANK GOD - never exhibited that habit. Maybe it's only certain parrots that do it.

So - now that Mr. Greenbird has moved on to heaven, along with Shady the Beagle and a couple of hamsters my daughter had when she was small, I am finding that it's a relief to close the curtains at night and not have moist bits of birdie seed upchuck come flying down on me and my surroundings.  It's nice not to hear that noise, and it's nice to have one less cage in my room, and one less area of bird debris to vacuum every day.

Now Beasley is a different story.  I've had him for over 20 years and the lifespan of a Cockatoo is as long or longer than a human.  Considering I did not acquire him at my birth, and I have no idea how old he is - he could outlive me.  So now, I am looking for a bird sanctuary where he can live the life of a retiree bird.  There is one north of Tampa, FL that looks wonderful.  Beasley will be angry that I didn't put him there years ago.......so I'm working on that.  It will probably be months before we actually take him there, but I will be down to 4 cats then - I forgot to tell you about the last cat, a stray kitten we found in our back yard trying desperately to eat a shelled peanut that we put out for blue jays.  That did it  - we took him in and he is now ours, and, incidentally, Squeebles' best bud.  His name is Junior Beans.

1 comment:

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I think there is a mark on the corner of your house for dogs and cats.

The kind hobos used to mark when the kind housewife was known to give them food as they passed through the area. ;)

I am also experiencing so much spam that the Blogger spam catcher is letting a lot come through.

This morning every comment was actually spam so it takes time to carefully read through each one... although some are obvious that they are spam, others are much more crafty in their writing.