Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Land of the Free, but what about me?" Belize Independence 2009

On Monday we paraded with the best of them. Young Michael, fashionably decked out in his newly constructed parrot suit, performed beautifully in his cage, turning somersaults and wowing the crow. I’m not sure the message was delivered completely intact, as the cute bird distracted the eye somewhat from the accompanying ‘let me out’ message (as cute birds tend to do). Still, we couldn’t have one without the other and it proved to be so popular that next year we intend to have several cute birds. We are eyeing up appropriately sized victims: parakeet, white-fronted, red-lored and yellow-head - you have been warned. All in all, a fun day, and a terrific, long-overdue, first ‘official’ parade for the true capital of the country. Here’s to many more.

In amongst the bad feeling of the Spike/Chili incident and the preparations for Independence, we haven’t managed anything spectacular with the birds. A comforting status quo reigns, but likely this will change once we get the leg bands and can start throwing a few grown-ups out of the Big House to make room for the graduating babies. Having said that, in order to band them, we’ve got to catch them all first…

Comfortable with our quiet spell, we rather stupidly offered to baby-sit a sick umbrella cockatoo - or U2 for those in the know – as I now am – smug smirk. Mr Cool had developed a bout of Delhi-belly. Don’t ask us what he had been eating, but it was appearing both ends – quite the most bizarre thing. Dr Isabelle gave him shed-loads of drugs and we gave him shed-loads of things to process for a repeat appearance from one or the other end. Two days after we first thought he was going to croak, we heard our first "I’m cool" from him, closely followed by hello, helloooo, HELLo, Helowo, HELLO, HELLO, HELLO, I’m cool, I’m, Cool, I'M COOOOL….

Okay, cute no longer.

Having made a complete recovery, the bl**dy thing fell madly in love with Jerry and chewed a large hole in our sofa to make a nest for them both. He also chewed a hole in my arm to make me go away, he terrorised our cleaner who now wants a pay-rise, he dive-bombed my mother and he rendered my own house a no-go zone for the best part of 6 hours. Even Pepe beat a hasty retreat whenever I’m Cool was loose.

Now – serious question. Who would have a cockatoo? No, really, I need help here: they are noisy, they’re destructive, and potentially very dangerous, they’re demanding, insistent, persistent and have an uncanny knack of making you feel guilty if you don’t give them attention every waking hour. They won’t allow you make phone calls or talk to anyone, they’re fussy eaters, they’re moody and unpredictable AND they’re expensive. There must be a 2-FanClub somewhere, staffed by nutters and subscribed to by lonely maniacs. If there was ever to be a list of ‘captive illegals’ - 2's are right there at the top along with tigers and grizzlies. Have a look at this and tell me I’m not wrong:

Yes, I’ve finished ranting – here are more pretty pictures of our float (and apologies to any sane, happy 2-owners, wherever you may be.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Before and After

We had a huge setback with the rehab programme last week which I am now almost calm enough to write about. Our young neighbour was convinced he could hear Chili down the road inside someone's house. Sure enough, they had Chili AND Spike - wings chopped, spirit broken. We appreciate that Chili was a little too tame and we can trace the hows and wherefores of them trapping her. But Spike?? Are they mad??? Our money's on a glue trap, but in the absence of a shred of honesty, we will probably never know the truth. I have secured my place in hell as, not only am I gratified by the fact that the guy who had them is missing a leg, but I rather wish the other one would drop off as well. I can hear my mother Nikki-ing as I type, but I don't care. What is wrong with people? Everything that made those birds fascinating and special was destroyed with a pair of scissors and a cage. Idiots.

I think you need the before and after shots in glorious technicolor to appreciate the extent of my rage (yes, "sweet Nikki" is capable of rage!!)

Anyhow, after exactly 3 poop-free months I have my cling-on back. She's a nervous wreck and buries her head in my neck constantly. Returning home to find a Pepe-shaped interloper probably doesn't help much either. She'll be grounded for at least 6 months - in the meantime I only hope she has learned something about people.

Spike, never the sanest of birds, was so messed up it took us a day or two until we were absolutely sure it was him. But today - day 9 of his return to the fold - he rediscovered his love of lacrosse, which may mean he's on the mend. Since he can only jump about 4 feet, he's lost every game so far: I may need to let him 'win' a couple of times to give him some confidence back.

Learning from the Chili/Spike episode, we are planning on making our next release a multiple escape. We have 3 definites, 2 probables and Timba. We plan to ring our birds in future and have had a fabulous offer of some freebies (thank you kindly). We just need to decide what to put on the rings. My thoughts are along the lines of 'if you can read this you're too close' or 'the police are on their way' but apparently there's not enough room on the band. I guess nothing's going to deter the complete idiots, but it may make the half-wits think at least once. Of course, if anyone has any better ideas...

And at last the peanut shortage is over, closely followed by a dearth of sunflower seeds. I've managed to score some pumpkin seeds which are far healthier for the birds; on the other hand, when you crave a double-scoop chocolate-chip ice cream, then frozen yoghurt just doesn't do the business.

Milo has been unusually active these last few days, climbing all over the aviary and visiting every feed station. It took mothers' brains to work out he hadn't suddenly become a 'real' bird, but the poor chap was actually searching in vain for the double-scoop chocolate-chip shop.