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Had some requests for mp3s of Athie (*wink*). Couldn't get them in mp3 format, but here are some videos!

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It's a lovely Tuesday morning. I have an hour before I have to get ready for school. The sun is shining. The weather is beautiful. Music is playing... I have some work to do before I go. Usually my sliding door would be open, so I could appreciate the beauty of the morning.

It's not today. Why?

Because there exist in my house two terrorists of the feathered nature. And lately, they have been *driving me crazy.* They think being on Mom is better than being *anywhere else in the whole world.* Mom does not agree. When I put them on the patio to play, they fly in through the open sliding door and onto my head. Sophie usually says, "Hi! HI!" And then proceeds to chew on my hair. I like my hair. This isn't endearing. When I finally get her off of my head, she searches desparately for buttons, zippers, bra straps, anything to chew on mom. Failing that, she examines her options on the desk--mouse wire, books, pens. She's very resourceful, ignoring completely the $100 worth of toys I spent last month trying to find *other, better, parrot-related* things to play with. Not interested.

After Soph lands on me, Ath's usually not too far behind. She isn't quite as graceful in flight, more dive-bombing and tumbling into whatever she's aiming for. But she gets there, and that's all that matters to her. She immediately goes for the fake plant on my desk. I usually wouldn't mind, but, well, I'm tired of vacuuming 3x/day b/c I can't stand the floor to be messy while I'm working! Failing the plant, she works on chewing through binders, books, papers... the more expensive-looking and irreplaceable, the tastier.

Sometimes I try to put them in their cages. They should learn to play alone, right? Problem is the guilt. Truthfully, they play alone a good 3 days/week--all day. They're experts. The other problem is Soph. I've trained her to "knock" politely when she wants out. And when I'm in the room, she wants out. So she knocks. incessantly. And I'm afraid she'll unlearn knocking and resort to screaming. (Or I'll resort to screaming if I listen to knockknockknock incessently for hours.)

So they are outside. And they show their disdain for not being allowed in by landing on the white trellis that's lying against the door. Or by landing on James's orchids, right in front of the trellis, and chewing them to bits, all the while glaring at me. "If you'd just let us in, this wouldn't be a problem."

Ah well. My terrorists aka the feathered mob. 

Feb071508.jpg
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Back by request... ;) (Thanks for the inspiration!)

Here are some parrot pics. 




The white background doesn't work as well for Soph as it does for Ath. I need to find a different color I think. Ah well... There's my pen-faced Sophie girl!
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I love being young. I love being married. I love having no kids. Why? Because we get to make the stupidest mistakes in the world without more than a month's budget of spending money to worry too much about. The worst that can happen is we eat Ramen Noodle Soup for four weeks. 

Anyway. I have my Sophie Doph and I really love her. James wants a parrot. He's wanted a parrot for a while--it's at least been at hte back of our minds that little Sophie Doph should have a friend, anyway. (not that they can share cages, mind you, but someone to squawk at on the days we're away at work.)

Yesterday J and I were driving back from Stuart. We saw, wonder of wonders, a new bird shop! Actually, it had been there for five years, but this was the first time we'd seen it. So... we stopped in. (I regularly stop at bird stores. I love to look at all the different birds, all their colors, and personalities...) What do you know? They have an umbrella cockatoo -- and he's jabbering away at James. Seems to adore him. We ask whether we can hold him, the shop owner says, "Sure!"

Hansel cooed at James and then climbed up his arm and sat on his shoulder. For forever. He was sooo happy and soooo sweet. He just wanted head rubs and head rubs and kisses and cuddles. OMG. The perfect bird for James. So... we bought him. Apparently he was "on consignment." Some little girl had gotten him when she was 10 or so, and then, now being 15, didn't want him anymore. So mean. :(

We bought him, brought him home, he hung out on James's shoulder all the way home. We put him on his new playstand.. And then we tried to pick him up a few hours later. That's when the trouble began. He attacked me. He bit my finger so badly it's still bruised and swollen, and bled for a while last night. Then he tried to attack James's face -- got his ear. 

And when I say Umbrella Cockatoo, I mean, this sucker's huge. He's like 19 inches tall and his beak could frighten a Tazmanian Devil. So he's attacking James, he's attacking me. He actually bit me more--six times on the arm--all of them now bruises.

We manage to get him back on his playstand.   We leave him alone. A few hours later it's time for bed... so we try to put him into his cage. He tried to lunge for my face but caught my bra instead. Now I have a nice sized bruise on the top of my boob. Didn't know that was possible. Damn bird. In trying to detach him from hanging from my bra (yes I had a shirt on), he kind of flung toward the cage and scrambled up to the top of it. Plumage extended, wings out, beak wide open, he's informing us the cage is all his. We know better htan to disagree with a feathered hell beast. We stuck some peanuts in the foodbowl (all the while eyeing him to make sur ehe didn't try to attack us). Then we snuck out of hte room and out to the patio--where we could watch him through a crack in the blinds. He just looked around and rocked. I went in there to sit with him since he looked scared. After a while I talked him into "stepping up" for me. Amazingly, he did--and went without fuss into the cage.

So James is freaking out. We have this huge bird that keeps attacking us. I swear that by today he'll be better. He's blaming me for talking him into it. I'm reminding him he's an adult and can make his own choices. Sophie's looking like the most innocent, wonderful parrot on earth.... She knows she will be sainted one day and made an arch cockatoo in heaven for her perfect personality and sweetness. We leave her on the other playstand int he livingroom because we know she doesn't climb off--such a good baby! And we go to bed without talking to each other and sleeping as far apart as possible. It's a good thing we have a king sized bed.

This morning I awoke to decibal-topping screams from the backroom. James was whistling in the shower.  Sophia, on her playstand, her crest up exchanges an expression with me. If she could talk she'd have said, Told ya so.  As I write this my ears begin to hurt. I mean, the screams were so loud the broom fell over. Seriously. I try to talk him out of screaming.James left for work. We growled goodbyes, each holding the other responsible for the monster that now existed in our house. By this time I've also e-mailed or posted to four different "rehomed birds" lists seeking help and advice. ALl of those saints swear it just takes a few months of patience and he'll be better.

Are you freaking kidding me? This feathered hell beast is trying to rip apart the cage and lunge for my face and I'm supposed to wait a few months?! Oh yeah. Whatever. I tried feeding him treats. I tried sweet-talking to him. He began barking like a 300lb poodle. And growling. And he's still lunging for my face.

In trepidation I finally call the shop owner back and inform him of the activities of hte morning and night before. I'm sure he's going to say there's nothing he can do. We signed a release yesterday. I'm imagining my life with this hell beast. And our neighbors! Our neighbors are going to HATE us! So I call, and to my surprise... he says, "You have three options. You can exchange him for the other cockatoo -- she's so much sweeter! You can exchange him for another bird here. Or I'll give you your money back. Life's too short to be bothered with a horrible bird!"

I can hardly believe my ears! He'll take him back! Now.. how to get the damned bird into the carrying case. 

I cleaned out the carrying crate and put a few toys, some nuts, and a towel at the bottom. I stared at another towel, thinking maybe I could "towel him" whatever the heck that means. I stared back at him. His beak was open and he was banging against the bars closest to me, trying to break them. He reminded me of a pahrana in feather form. The towel seemed too scary. He wouldn't be a happy pahrana if he escaped from my holding him. What if he got out of the towel? What if he actually succeeded in biting my face?! What if he snapped my glasses in half? Or my ear?

I considered trying to pick him up wiht the towel around my hand. And then I actually tried it. He hopped off--onto the floor, and then hopped like a rabbit in a circle trying to attack me. God that beak! I manage to get him to bite the towel and lurched him back into his cage before he could do further damage.

Finally I decided to put the carrying crate up to the cage door and let him try to crawl in. The problem was that wherever I stood closest to the bars, he'd try to bite me through them. So I had to distract him over to the other side of the cage, so I could open the door and put the crate to the door. It took a few minutes, but I finally convinced him he'd have better access to biting me near his food dish.

I whipped the crate to his door and watched in morbid fascination as he tried chewing the crate to bits -- first the top part, then the bottom part. Finally his desire for nuts overwhelmed all sense of birdy reasoning and he climbed into the crate. I quickly closed the door--can you imagine if he got out?? -- and carried him to the car. On the way I noticed him attempting to take apart the crate door. I made a mental note to put the crate door against hte seat of the car so he wouldn't have a chance of actually opening it. 

When I got to the shop the guy opened the crate and Hansel walked out. The guy said, "Step up!" Hansel stepped up, bobbed his head for a head rub, and crawled back into the shop cage, happy as a freaking lark. Little bastard.

And that is James and Jen dumb animal mistake #2.  And we're back to being happily married. And Sophia is the sweetest angel bird in the world.

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June 2010

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