We had little idea how much personality a bird can have when we adopted a storm-tossed budgie a couple of years ago. Actually we knew very little about budgies at all, including how to figure out if the bird was male or female. We’ve since learned that “budgie” is an abbreviation of an Australian word, and we’ve become well educated in many different aspects of bird-rearing (and determined that our bird’s a sheila).
Now that our cat has moved on to happier hunting grounds The Bird (Tiger Lilly may have a name for it, but everyone pretty much calls her The Bird) has many more opportunities outside of her cage to have the run (or airspace) of the house. She always wants to be wherever her “flock” (us) is, whether she’s in her cage or not. Any companionship appears better to her than none, but she is especially bonded to Tiger Lilly. Anyone will do in a pinch, or peck, however, as I’ve discovered.
Saturday morning my wife and I were up before Tiger Lilly and my wife let the bird out of her cage while we read the paper. The bird loves to shred newspaper, so this was like an invitation to party. Take it from me, it is very distracting to have a bird trying to savage the section of newspaper that you’re reading. This particular morning, however, The Bird decided to share the paper with my wife, probably because the last time she and I “shared” the paper it got to be pretty frustrating for both of us. My wife was clever and thought to offer up a sacrificial section of the paper (probably the one with Nick Coleman’s column in it) to busy The Bird so she could read the comics in peace. Just like the cat, however, The Bird is only interested in the section that you have in front of you. After a couple of tears at the decoy section she hopped over to my wife’s leg and started working at the folded gutter of the paper. My wife is much more patient than I am and gamely continued to read. When she opened the section fully, however, to turn the page she discovered a better-than-bird-sized hole in the middle of the paper (including a missing punch-line from the last panel of a comic).
After the ensuing protest The Bird decided a change of scenery would be beneficial, so she flew across the room and landed on my shoulder. She wisely didn’t make for the paper right away, as I turned my head and we regarded each other like familiar opponents. It so happened that when I turned toward her she was able to see her reflection in my reading glasses.
You know, it is kind of a strange sensation to see a magnified and blurry beak coming at your eye.
Finding herself again airborne, The Bird went on the hunt for more docile prey, or at least another section of the newspaper. I don’t understand why chewing up the newspaper is so interesting to her, but I suppose it’s probably a good source of fiber.
That’s all I need — an unconstipated budgie flying Dawn Patrol in my living room! I never thought I’d miss that cat.