Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Blink and Giggle
Just look at this picture.
Seeing that sweet little face, could you believe that this tiny creature is an implement of doom? DOOM, I TELL YOU!!! She is though, and I have the bruised and lacerated knuckle to prove it. Why is it that parrot books tell you everything about handling your bird except how to get her out of her cage without losing your finger? Technically, you should just be able to reach in and gently pick up the bird from behind, but that so doesn't work. It's very tempting to just leave her in the cage and have her be a pretty little display object, but I want a pet I can have a relationship with, dammit. All of my instincts to have children are being suppressed and I must have an outlet, and this little pooper is it. So far, we've mastered the vitally important "step-up" command, both from the floor and from finger to finger, but only when she's out of the cage. She utterly goes to pieces if I try to get her to step onto my finger while in her cage. I read in our "Guide to Companion Parrot Behavior" that if I make eye contact with her, she's less likely to bite me, but how can I make eye contact with her when, as soon as I get within six inches of her while she's either in or on her cage, she immediately starts madly flapping and crashing around and I'm afraid she's going to break either herself or her toys? Not that she doesn't have enough toys to replace one if it broke anyway, as I'm a total and complete sucker (as I've said before) and I have purchased her more toys than my two nephews together, but I don't want HER to get hurt. It's like a teeny tiny greased pig contest and I don't have my overalls.
I've been using a glove to get her to step up out of her cage as she can bite it and it doesn't hurt, but I've been told that using a glove is VERY BAD and I'm a horrible person for doing it. I've also wrapped my hand in her towel (more on that later) to pick her up, but again, I'm not really supposed to do that as then she'll have a negative imprint on the towel. What the frack am I supposed to do then? I called Pet Professionals in Redmond, and they told me to just open her door and let her come out. She hasn't fallen for that one yet. She knows it's a trick and I'm going to grab when she gets out, and she's wise to me. She just sits there staring at herself in her mirror and fluffing up to make herself more attractive to herself. She's quite the narcissist, this one.
So, the towel. According to the book mentioned above, which is supposedly the best parrot manual on the market, we are supposed to acclimate our bird to being handled in a towel, as vets use towels to hold birds for examinations. We are supposed to do so by playing a game called Peek-a-Bird, which is closely akin to the peek-a-boo game played with human children, except far more humiliating. To play the game, we have to buy a large bath towel in a color close to that of the bird's feathers, which I did. Next, we are to sit across the room from the cage below the bird's eye level, preferably on the floor, hide our heads with the towel, whip the towel away and say "peek-a-bird!" loudly and clearly and then blink rapidly and giggle. Blink and giggle. This, according to the book, will teach the bird that the towel is fun, because look how much fun the morons on the floor are having with the towel, blinking and giggling! Look! The towel is pretty and close to my color and I shall love the towel now that the idiots who keep trying to take me out of my cage despite my best efforts seem to think the towel is the COOLEST THING EVER, so therefore, I do, too.
If my bird is that stupid, I don't want her as a pet. I'll let you know how it goes.