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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
Rating: 3 votes, 4.67 average.

Hard-earned lessons

Posted 12-05-2015 at 01:58 PM by rocket357

If there is one thing I have never fully understood, it is bird people. They have tons of birds loose in their house, feathers and bird crap on everything...just, not a good way to go, right? Last time I visited a friend who is a bird person, I had some feathery jerk land on my head and crap on my glasses.

I'm more of a fish and reptile person. I tolerate cats and dogs (well, moreso cats than dogs). So when my wife suggested we get two parakeets to keep as pets, I wasn't thrilled. Birds are annoying and disgusting, amirite?

So we get two parakeets and all of the stuff to go with them. They're quiet and very shy, so I figure nothing could go wrong, right? My wife picked them because they were two male parakeets, and they went all over the cage at the pet store together, so she named them "Doc" and "Wyatt" after the famous western duo. All went well with two parakeets.

Then one day my wife suggests we get two more know, for prosperity and all. I know my wife has always wanted an African Grey, but me being an anti-bird person I figure $20 a pop for parakeets (that our cats might end up eating) is better than a few hundred dollars on an African Grey that might end up as a cat-snack. We pick up two more parakeets (well, my wife picks them out, I was over looking at the Cichlids at the time) and head home. They're female parakeets, and in the naming tradition established by the first two, my wife names them "Josie" and "Kate".

As soon as we got home, something not-very-funny happened. One of the new parakeets (Kate) decided to go all commando and start biting everyone that got close to her. In frustration, my wife called me up to the bird room and asked me to catch the parakeet (who was now hiding in the closet). My wife showed me her hand, which was bleeding from the parakeet's bite. Wow, this bird needs to be put in its place!

When I stepped into the closet, I noticed that Kate was cowering in complete fear in the corner. I thought about it for a second. Here's this animal, in a new house with predators and very large animals (people) everywhere...I'd probably be scared out of my wits, too, if I were in her place. Ok, I'm going to approach this differently. I know she's going to bite me, but I'm not going to do *anything* back to her. In fact, I'm going to *let* her bite me to show her that I'm not going to hurt her. With a little patience, I may convince her that I'm not going to hurt her.

That's the theory, now to the actual practice...

My wife apologized repeatedly for me getting bit as much as I did (that little parakeet *hurts* when she bites), but I managed to get Kate out of the closet and on my hand calmed down a bit. She still snapped at me every chance she got, and I let her bite me. She seemed pretty stressed out after a bit, so I put her back in the bird cage with some food and covered her for the night.

The next day, I decided to try again. Once again, I ended up screaming obscenities as the little demon clamped down on my hands. Just getting her out of the cage was a chore that resulted in numerous bite marks. My wife apologized profusely again, then laughed and said "Kates first words aren't going to be very nice words!" haha. Good to know my wife is thinking about the positives in this situation.

After few days of me getting constantly bit (I was really starting to consider bringing Kate back to the pet store where we got her), something strange happened. Kate stepped out of the cage gently onto my hand, using her beak to grab my finger, but not *bite*. She perched on my finger and started whistling a little tune. I sat on the floor and listened to her for half an hour or so, and she climbed back and forth between my hands, all the while using her beak just to balance, never once biting me.

But it didn't stop there. Kate then flew over to my daughter and landed on her hand. My daughter had been trying (unsuccessfully) to call the other three birds to her (everyone was terrified of Kate at this point) with food in her hand. I quietly reminded my daughter to remain calm and not make any sudden moves, and Kate proceeded to eat out of her hand. Kate then climbed up to her shoulder and kept whistling cute little noises.

A day or two later, my wife was listening to music and my daughter asked to get Kate out of the bird cage. Kate sat on top of the back of my wife's chair and whistled with the music.

I think I'm starting to understand what draws people to birds. Kate *loves* music (all of our parakeets do, but Kate in particular is very vocal when music is playing). I've never had a pet that responded to music like that (though considering making music is something many birds do, I suppose I should have expected that heh). It is incredibly odd when you can identify a birds musical tastes on how they react to music...for instance, Kate likes Lindsey Stirling...a LOT. Who would have guessed?

I suppose you learn something new every day...and it only took a couple hundred bite marks to figure it out =)
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  1. Old Comment
    I had a cockatiel once. He was quite well-behaved and a lot of fun. We eventually gave him away to one of my now-ex-wife's co-workers who lived alone.

    During that time I was at my local supermarket and met a fellow who had a cockatiel on his shoulder all pirate like. Turns out that, to keep it on his shoulder, he had clipped the wings (which do grow back, by the way).

    I've been tempted from time-to-time to get another cockatiel, if only because it would drive the cats mad.
    Posted 12-05-2015 at 10:37 PM by frankbell frankbell is online now
    Updated 12-05-2015 at 10:39 PM by frankbell
  2. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by frankbell View Comment
    I've been tempted from time-to-time to get another cockatiel, if only because it would drive the cats mad.
    Our cats are indoor-only cats (and have been since we lived next to these weirdos who liked to steal cats). On a side note, I'm not entirely certain what causes a human to think it OK to literally steal another person's pet, unless they simply feel they are better cut out for taking care of animals like some sort of pompous jerk? I digress.

    Our cats love watching birds at the windows, so I'm a bit leery of letting them in the room with the parakeets until we get a better bird cage (I sorely wish ebay had prime shipping haha).
    Posted 12-06-2015 at 12:14 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Will the mix create eggs?
    Posted 12-07-2015 at 10:17 AM by vmccord vmccord is offline
  4. Old Comment
    I don't know, vmccord. I hope so, because they're all really beautiful birds, but we'll have to see on that.
    Posted 12-07-2015 at 05:03 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Only thing I was told about birds was by my younger brother who is a bird and cat person.

    "They have a 4 year old mind set".

    His cat and parrot are best friends. No strife with his pets.

    In Sun City AZ. In my moms back yard.
    A flock of parrots settle and feed because she feeds them. I guess they are former pets turned feral. They show up like pigeons.

    I guess she is not the only one that has feral parrots in a neighborhood.
    Posted 12-11-2015 at 09:18 AM by rokytnji rokytnji is offline
  6. Old Comment
    That's pretty...odd, rokytnji, but cool. Personally I think humans are considerably more "invasive" of a species, but at least the "conflict" between animal control and animal rights is mildly entertaining.

    Feral parrots. I'd have never guessed.
    Posted 12-11-2015 at 10:43 AM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  7. Old Comment
    My Mom also feeds the families of Quail, Cotton Tail Rabbits, Road Runners, and Coyotes cruise through also. She has a veritable Noahs Ark going on in a Major Sub Division in a Major city like Phoenix Arizona.

    That is why I like living in the heat and the Wild West. During the day and after dark. Just park a chair and look out the back patio bay window on her back room sun porch.

    There is a scheduled parade every day.

    Edit: I forgot to mention. A tub of water in the back yard in the desert is like candy to local wild life. Even bees.
    Posted 12-11-2015 at 11:28 AM by rokytnji rokytnji is offline
    Updated 12-11-2015 at 11:30 AM by rokytnji
  8. Old Comment
    I bet her backyard is literally viewed like an oasis out there for all the wildlife =)

    And yes, water in the desert is worth more than its weight in gold.
    Posted 12-12-2015 at 01:53 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline


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