I read a hilarious article a while back about the realities of bird ownership, and, until two weeks ago, thought that the answer to the question on bathing would forever describe how our birds felt about our attempts to get them wet. When we would try to approach any of them with the spray bottle or bring them to the shower, they would shiver in terror and fling themselves to the floor. Once we got them into the shower, they would clamp down their feathers so tightly that the water would merely bead up and roll off, like off of a freshly waxed car. But, as one of the most important things that a bird owner can do to help keep their birds' feathers in good condition is bathe them, we kept trying.
On a recent morning when Cyril seemed particularly dry and dusty, was losing a large number of feathers and was bristly with new ones, I thought I'd help ease his suffering a bit by drenching him to the nostrils. Apparently, molting is a pretty crappy, itchy process and the water helps to soothe the skin. I brought him into the bathroom with me on his portable stand and set him on the edge of the tub. Now, ever since I taught him to wave for a treat, he picks up his left foot and touches his beak whenever he sees something he wants. He also turns around in a circle, just like we taught him, thinking logically that a treat will follow, that smart chicken. So, I'm in the shower, and he's waving and spinning and leaning towards the water, which I'd never seen him do, so I picked up the perch and brought him close to the spray. He spread his wings, fluffed up all his feathers, opened his mouth and stuck his head underneath the showerhead. He delightedly shook and fluffed and flapped and squacked and drank and was so happy that, when I tried to move him so I could take a shower myself, he kept yelling and leeeeeeeaning and flying back to me and tangling himself in my hair. I must have held him in the spray for ten minutes. Of course, Christian was in Whistler for a work trip, so he missed the little show. I kept hoping that Cyril would want to shower again, but in the times that I had brought him to the bathroom since, he hadn't shown much interest, until yesterday. I always say good morning to the birds as soon as I get up, and I noticed that Cyril seemed twitchier than usual, so I got the perch and took him to the bathroom, hoping that he'd want to shower. As soon as I set him down on the tub, he started to lean and wave and turn. When I turned on the shower, he fluffed up and started to pace, so impatient. I picked him up on his perch, got in and stuck him under the showerhead. Thankfully, Christian was home this time and caught the bliss on film:
He refused to leave the shower until he was so wet that his tail feathers were dripping. You've never seen anything so scraggly as a wet parrot's ear hole. I then, of course, had to give him a little blow dry, which he also loves, and, like a dog, tries to eat the air as it's blowing in his face. I only use the low setting, of course. He was still slightly damp when I got home. I'm hoping that I can get him to run through the sprinklers this summer.