Name calling

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I was wondering whether anyone might be able to explain to me why one name for me isn’t enough.

I passed through two homes after being hatched before coming to live with mom so I am aware that she didn’t have the opportunity to “choose” my name but giving me a whole bunch of nicknames is a bit overkill, don’t you think?

Most of the names she uses when she is mad at me which seems like to be more often than not.

Mr Bird!

Casey Don’t!

Casey Stop!

Sometimes she calls me “Conehead”or “Mr. Magoo” as well. I don’t think it is nice to make fun of the way I look! My crest is short, I know but so what!!!! Okay and my eyes “do” bulge out from the side of my head making me look like that comic strip character with huge magnifying glasses but I still don’t like it.

I know how to retaliate! I will just SCREAM!!!!!

I think she should just call me, “Famous”. Haven’t you seen my debut on Nova — Inside Animal Minds – Bird Genius? If you live outside of the U.S. you’ll have to purchase the DVD but if you are in the U.S., you can probably view the episode online.

I was the Goffin’s who taught those other Goffin’s Cockatoos how to pick locks. I do that every day. I undo things and string things up. I recently became more adept at unlocking my own cage door so mom has to string a chain with multiple securing measures to make sure I don’t escape. She has the side food dish doors strung up too. They are too difficult to access from inside the cage but when I am out, I will unlock them and hope mom doesn’t notice when she puts me in the cage so I can get out and break Sydney out of her cage too!!!

Wildlife Viewing

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Now I understand the intrigue of watching animals in the wild! So strange what they do when encountering the unexpected!

People are so fascinating

People are so fascinating

Where are their manners! Don’t they know it is not polite to stare!!! Am I really that unusual? We are endangered, it is true but haven’t they seen birds before?

Most people I do meet when out and about DO need to be educated. Do I really look like a seagull or a cockatiel? Gimme a break! Sheesh!

The origin of “flipping the bird”

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One of my biggest pet peeves (and I don’t mean because mom considers me to be her pet because in fact, she is more like MY pet) is when people don’t give credit where credit is due.

People who do this “finger-centric” act do it almost innately without paying homage to the very focal points of its origin! Yes, birds!

Here is wiki’s researched interpretation of where the saying “Flipping the Bird”came from — the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the English long-bow made from the Yew tree, pheasant’s feathers used in its construction, human fingers required to work the weapon and taunting of the English to the French (hmmm… reminiscent of Quebec’s history as well (see para. 20 in the link)?).

Forget about those ancient silly looking pheasants of times long past, I believe the saying eventually evolved into our current expression, “flipping the bird” because of more contemporary dinosaurs like me!

Bird who has flipped

Bird who has flipped

Okay, I did this myself but the following is a true modern-day demonstration of “flipping the bird”. Mom did it to me!

Bird who was flipped - mom coaxed me to jump up and grab the rope, then she flipped me on my back

Bird who was flipped – mom coaxed me to jump up and grab the rope, then she flipped me on my back

My new hobby…

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…Art!

I have watched mom paint pictures and the house, and am completely fascinated by the wide array of colour she uses.

Instead of asking her for my own set of paints, which of course, she would never give me even if I asked (number one, because they can be toxic and messy; and number two… because I am a white bird and she doesn’t want anyone to mistake me for those colourful parrots), I decided that I would come up with my own multi-media/textural form of artistic impression.

I actually used the same canvas I have used many times before. I believe in conservation and re-use being eco-minded as I am.

I fully expected my mom to be completely supportive of my new interest but what I call “art” she calls “a mess…that will require extensive ‘rework'”

2014-02-16 16.09.43

The next Dali perhaps? Doesn’t it sort of look like Italy that has fallen on its side?

You be the judge of my most recent “wall art”.

Is it real?

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“….or is it Memorex?”

Memorex was one of the first producers of audio tapes. In their early commercials, they portrayed people having a difficult time distinguishing whether the sound came from a live person or a recording.

I have the same sort of issue with TV. I often can’t tell the difference if a raptor is really in front of me in 3-D or just a two-dimensional moving object across a pixilated screen!

Mom and dad love watching “Nature”, “Natural Geographic” and “Oasis” channels which host many animal-based documentaries. I love keeping them company (actually, I have difficulty staying away from them when I am out of the cage!) when they watch these (or any other) shows.

I either play “the door”, by sitting on mom’s chest while she is in semi-prone position on the couch. “What???? Why shouldn’t I have the best seat in the house?” My positioning makes it difficult for her to watch so she usually tries to get me to move over to her left shoulder so that she can see the TV! Otherwise, I will move over to dad’s left shoulder or onto the bicycle seat.

TV often makes me sleepy, and I usually get some shut-eye. Except, of course when there is a hunt going on! I hear the sounds of those raptor and immediately come alive!

I bow down, come up (along with my crest), spread open my wings and hiss! I need to make myself look big and fierce! I probably should run over to mom for protection but I don’t want those big birds to think I am a wuss!

I also react to others birds too! I find them fascinating and try to communicate or at least let them know that “I am here”! The sounds of primates sometimes get me confused though. Silly monkey! Not sure why they want to sound like us birdies!

New Year’s Resolution…weight loss

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…BUT NOT FOR THIS BIRD!!!

I visited the Doc the day before New Year’s eve and unlike most of my human counterparts, I don’t need to go on a diet! In fact, I spoiled my consistent year-over-year numbers with a few grams loss. Doc (the vet) said it was just because he weighed me after I pooped for the gram stain test.

The gram stain helps to ensure that my intestinal flora is just right. Too much positive or negative rods in my gut could spell trouble. I will find out soon if there is any trouble and medicinal treatment is required. I sure hope not, especially if syringe driven. I don’t do well with them. Mom has to worry about me aspirating on the plastic tips — I regularly bite them off in revenge!

How do I manage to keep this 27 year-old body in such good shape over the over-indulgent holiday season? I think I manage to stay so svelte primarily for two reasons:

  1. I am seldom included in the holiday fanfare. My parents usually go out and celebrate leaving me at home to scrounge through the meager pickings from my food dish.
  2. Building on “1” above, since I am stuck in my cage, I can’t immerse myself in others’ food! I think food is better when stolen from someone else’s cage….
Caught right footed! Broke into her home to steal some pomegranate

Caught right footed! Broke into her home to steal some pomegranate

or…. when stolen from someone’s plate.

My divvied out portion just didn't look as appetizing as hers

My divvied out portion just didn’t look as appetizing as hers

Even if I am REALLY hungry, I will usually wait until my “out” time at dinner to enjoy some of mom’s good cooking! I don’t care if it is healthy, it is usually warm and delicious! Warm food tastes better.

Keeping a healthy weight is really simple….have someone else control your intake! Works for me!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The “Birdification” process

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I won’t be writing much over the next year because mom is just way too busy to help me with my typing. She won’t even give me lessons or install a program allowing me to convert beak shorthand into real words. Sigh!!!

I wanted to take a few minutes to explain “birdification”

Birdification is the process by which a psitta like me transforms the love of his/her life into a “true” mate…. one of the same kind.

I know my mom (my partner) is human but I think that she should look more like me. Why not! This is what I did to “birdify” her:

Step 1 – Pluck some of my down feathers and strategically place them in mom’s hair, face, body… wherever they stick.

Step 2 – Bite the fingers…. we don’t really have them so why should they? With enough bites, those arms will begin to look like wings

Step 3 – Give her “birdtox” — the psitta form of botox. That process expands the lips making them look more like a beak!

I did this to mom a couple of weeks ago. She really wasn’t pleased. There was a lot of blood and she was concerned that she would need stitches.

I am usually very trustworthy but she got complacent (because I am usually a good bird) and she kissed me while I was on my cage. I haven’t bitten her face in eons but I just felt it was time!

Male bonding

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My mom has been trying (in vain) to get my dad to be more demonstrative of his affection for me. She tells him (almost daily), “you love him”, meaning me.

He always responds with, “Never! Nice try.”

I know better though. He may not “love” me the way women expect love to be shown love but we “do” bond.  Looky here… mom secretly captured a photo with us at the beach hanging out. I don’t know about you, but to me, this looks like love.

For the love of men

For the love of men

Okay, maybe just tolerance. Sigh!

Looking pretty is hard work

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Yes, I know that I am an extremely handsome fellow but do you have any idea the amount of time and effort involved in making myself look so suave?

While I don’t really keep count, I believe I probably spend a good couple of hours a day preening. Okay, maybe an hour but that is still a great deal of time when I have so much to do each day!

Preening involves rubbing my head against my preen gland (a sort of oil) at the base of my rump and distributing it all over my feathers. Of course, being that I am a very active bird — spending time wood chipping to make my box just right — my tail feathers get really messed up. In order to keep them looking great, I have to run these feathers through my finger-like tongue and basically “zip” my feathers back up.

I can only do a partial preen though. I rely on mom to do the rest. I can only reach my head feathers with my foot. While I am quite dexterous, I can’t quite pinch the pin feathers as well as mom does.

She rubs my head and feels for the pin feathers but sometimes, she has a hard time differentiating between pin feathers and blood feathers. Boy, is there a difference!!!

The blood feathers are still live growing feathers and hurt when squeezed. When mom makes a mistake, she sure has to remove her hands quick or else….she’ll get to share in the blood…by getting a nasty bite from me. What? It is only a defense!  What would you do if someone punched or stabbed you? Wouldn’t you retaliate!

The pin feathers, on the other hand are fully formed feathers. They are “dead” so to speak. It only hurts if someone tries to pluck the feather, not if they grab the sheath between their fingers, crack it open and rub it away. It feels so much nicer have a fully formed, useable feather rather than one encased in a sheath. They aren’t too useful that way.

Dad usually complains about the mess. Our preening session usually creates a lot of white dust.

Sometimes, I do the “reverse preen”. Usually to dad. Here I am putting the strands of hair on his head in place. They do need to be strategically placed!

The reverse preen

The reverse preen

I usually take a shower (mist bath) whenever I get the chance to help with looking clean. Being a dirty bird isn’t so bad though, it shows than I am being cuddled and loved. Just what us cockatoos need!

Trust and contentment after a good preen

Trust and contentment after a good preen

Just another day in the park…

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Who says a cockatoo can’t enjoy a day at the park! I see crows hanging about all of the time! I used to go to the park almost weekly when mom played softball. I would usually hop up and down the bleachers and find a comfy spot on an unsuspecting stranger’s shoulder or would sit quietly beside them.

I found out though, rather quickly, that not everyone likes birds. In fact, many people are afraid of them. I have pretty good balance most of the time but it is pretty tough when someone moves at the last minute when I am just about to land on them.

Mom would apologize for my not asking if I can perch on their shoulder before bounding over but I personally think they should see it as a privilege to have someone as grand as me wanting to hang out with them! I am the “cool” kid you know… even though I look a bit goofy with my “googly eyes” as dad calls them.

Softball is a bit boring to watch so sometimes mom would let some older, bird trained kids take me the jungle gym so that I could do some climbing. We all loved it. Sadly, I don’t get to go play at the park as often as I used to. I reminded mom how much I love the park, so she decided to take me there on the weekend! Dad even came along.

Here I am traversing the monkey bars. We cross them a bit differently than primates but we still get from one end to the other! I wasn’t into performing that day so this time, getting me across required more incentive than a simple applause.

I like to play in the sand box as well but I prefer the beach or my own personal sandbox so after the park, we went home so that I could play in my dirt pile.

Mom didn’t want to give me own sandbox but decided to improvise and cave in with the hopes of distracting me from hopping into her planters and digging all the dirt out with my beak!