Today was another of the endless cage cleaning days. In fact, I cleaned pretty much the entire house. It was alright. Not my favorite thing to do, but alas. Totally necessary. I usually let the birds out, because while I clean their cages, this affords them over an hour straight of shenanigans where my hands are not free enough to stop them from perching where I’d rather they don’t. Usually, this means they are all over me, perched on my hair clip, or right up in my face on my glasses. For the first part of their escapades, however — they remained pretty quiet. Shocking. They sat on their playstand and preened, fluffing out their feathers contentedly. I was relieved, for sure. But while this is a rather rare occurrence, they are really just as cute as when they are incredibly animated.
See what I mean?
Back when I still lived in the dorms, I had just the two parakeets, Quill & Gimli. They also had to be all up in my business relentlessly, but I didn’t mind. (My then-roommate may have, however.) It was ONLY at those times that they would be quiet. Even when settling in for a nap, the parakeets will sing into their feathers with their beaks tucked into their wings. It’s tough to get a video of that, but I will try like heck until I do!
My mom has a conure named Cookie, whose normal vocalizations sound like pig snorts. She occasionally sends me photos of her being way too adorable and snuggly.
She is the same as the parakeets — she will be quietest when she has a chance to be with Mom — the rest of the day will be spent making as much noise as those birdie lungs allow.
Today, after the chaos of the cage cleaning calmed considerably, I come in to finish organizing my room. An hour passes, and I turn off my music off for a moment. That’s when I notice the silence. So I go out to check on the birds. The radio is on, playing some sweet 80s music, and yet — all of the birds are napping except for Dapple. She is sitting all cute and fluffy on her sun deck perch, simply observing.
As I walk out towards her, she yawns and fluffs out her feathers, meandering over to the other sun deck perch nearest to the door of the cage. She does something new these days — She expects scritches instantaneously whenever I am within her range of sight.
I sigh, and wander over to her. She’s way too cute to ignore after a long day of cleaning the birdie mansions and the house itself. So I open the door, and she waddles as close as she can before using her beak to climb foot over head out onto the rope perch closest to me on the outside of her cage. She hangs her head upside down and fluffs out all of those feathers. When I don’t pet her at first, she lifts her head, turns it and stares at me before making an indignant sound.
She then returns her head to the same position it was in and once again fluffs out all those feathers, as if to say, “insolent human! Pet me, already!” Sometimes, if I stop petting her, she will nip at my fingers. Not in the painful way, but more in the bossy way.
So, of course — I oblige. It goes on like this for a half an hour exactly before Baby wakes up. He is groggy, just like me most mornings. With one eye towards me, beak still tucked back into his feathers, he says, “Birdie?” with that intonation at the end that feels quite interrogative. I have stopped petting Dapple in order to greet Baby. Since I have looked away, she bites the tip of my finger and makes her indignant sound. No fair that Baby ever gets attention, I suppose. Baby wakes up slowly and waddles over as close as he can get without leaving his cage. He makes small kissy noises, and then wanders away to go snack on some sunflower seeds left over from earlier. Dapple still expects pets, but this time I pick her up, kiss her head and put her back in the cage. Still everyone is relatively quiet as I leave, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring in the background.
While birds are not known to be the quietest pets on the planet, it is in these moments of silence that I find their personality shows through quite well. I would still suggest not getting a bird unless you’re prepped for the noise. No such thing as a constantly quiet bird exists. To those of you who already have birds of your own — savor these moments. Record them. Photograph them. Cherish them. We know all too well how few and far between they are.