The Balsa Fiend Chronicles: New Bird Toys, Destroyed in Seconds

Breaking News: Miniature Pterodactyls wreak havoc in author K.M. Alleena’s old, drafty college apartment.

Balsa-Destruction by Baby, terror of the forests.

Balsa-Destruction by Baby, terror of the forests.

Just kidding — I just received my order of a ton of handmade bird toys from Crystal’s Bird Toys in Canada. If I can help it, this will be the only company I will use for the majority of the bird toys from now on. Providing I can keep the $100+ box of them in tact for long enough to save up and wait for the next shipment. It actually doesn’t seem at all possible. The ‘tiels are complete balsa-fiends, and I didn’t even realize it until I had ordered stuff from Crystal for the first time. I suppose the sound of Ochroma pyramidale snapping satisfactorily is the bird equivalent of an all-night gaming spree. I couldn’t even get the first balsa toy in the cage before the beasts waddled over and began trying to tear it out of my fingers. Really. I can’t make this stuff up.

Awww. Birdie Bread Happy Face.

Awww. Birdie Bread Happy Face.

A while back, I had picked up a treat for the feathered children — egg biscuit birdie bread. (Don’t go shouting about cannibalism. Hawks eat Parrots, after all. That’s life.) It comes in a bird-safe orange box with a plastic hanger. Turns out the budgies were scared of it, and didn’t touch it, but the ‘tiels were all over that. Turns out they weren’t as interested in the birdie bread as they were in the bright orange box. Dapple would expertly snip a long strip of the cardboard off, where baby would just shred the crap out of the box; little bits of orange fluff clinging to his beak. He’d get jealous of Dapple’s box-pieces and try to steal them from her. She would take the paper in her left foot and use her now-free beak to peck at Baby until he left well enough alone. It took a while and a number of squabbles until he gave up. Determined little bugger, huh?

Baby defeating the terrible beastie.

Baby defeating the terrible beastie.

Well the point of that tangent was to introduce why I chose to include a bright orange bird toy called the Doe after a bit of pondering. At first, as I initially expected, they were a little afraid of it, and avoided the bottom left side of their cage like the plague all of yesterday. (That’s okay, they would’ve said, we’ve got all this balsa stuff over here, no big deal.) Today, as soon as I got home from work, however — I was greeted first with Baby’s rendition of something like a mashup of “Happy and You Know It” and “The Song of Time,” from Legend of Zelda. (Total dork, I know. He knows Final Fantasy’s Fanfare, too!) It was amusing. The terror was happy to see me, and I was thrilled to just sit. (And of course, observe the shenanigans.) He descended to the lower perches as I sat to untie my boots, and that’s when he decided that the new bright orange toy might not be such a terrible beastie after all. After he realized it was made of balsa, there went the eyes pinning. It’s a little harder to see, because Baby’s eyes are so dark. The yellow feathers on their head also show their mood; so when the eyes are pinning and the crest is up and angled back, this means a very content and very much NOT bored ‘tiel.

Something many a parront fails to pay attention to is favorites. Just like you and I, birds can have favorites — from a type of material, to a color, to a song, to a temperature — certainly this applies to food, too. It could also apply to a person. Even though Baby is friendly with everyone, I’m not his favorite person by far. Probably my roommate’s boyfriend is — but mostly because he’s as tall as a tree in Baby’s opinion. It’s rather weird, but hey. So be it. I might be Mama bird, but my mom can tell you — teenagers…literally UGH. At least, regardless of favorite people, Baby lives in a place where all the other favorites are paid attention to still! Orange/Red colors, classic rock / anything the humans will sing to, attention, wicker and balsa — broccoli on occasion, too. They’ve got a huge cage, relative to

This was the terrible beastie. Was.

This was the terrible beastie. Was.

body size, and get attention whenever I am home. I try and teach them tricks and new whistles. (They are more interested in shenanigans than orchestrated tricks, and only one likes to talk and whistle.) They get spoiled with all kinds of great food, too. By paying close attention, I can figure out what becomes the favorites — what makes them most cozy.

The fact that balsa was such a big deal was a new discovery, and honestly one of my favorites to date due to how adorable the birds acted about it. That, and it kept their squawking to a minimum and their nagging to be released from their well-decorated prison was eliminated for a goodly chunk of time. I’m almost inclined to tell newcomers to always have a piece of balsa and a sprig of millet in their pocket upon arrival to cement their friendship with the miniature pterodactyls. As for the future? New presents will be forever balsa, and these tiny feathered fiends will thus love me for the rest of their days.

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3 thoughts on “The Balsa Fiend Chronicles: New Bird Toys, Destroyed in Seconds

  1. It was very interesting reading your title as part of your story, with “Just kidding.” It’s interesting that the budgies had more fun with the box; they are like kids–instead of playing with that swing set built by Mom, the kids play with the giant box the parts came in. I think if you leave off the line, “Well the point of that tangent was to introduce why I chose to include a bright orange bird toy,” the story won’t stop, but continue. You could introduce the bright colored orange Doe toy by saying how you saw this love in the color orange with the box, which made you buy an orange toy that they might play with, rather than the box it came in. I also wonder if it would work better if your flashback with the orange box was first, then explaining buying toys, one of them being the orange balsa. Your characters Dapple and Baby have an interesting brother and sister relationship, which enhances the theme of mother and children, with birds. There’s a good transition to favorites, because it goes from this favorite color to favorite people, who may not be Mom. In your second to last paragraph, last sentence, I think you meant to say “what makes [them] most cozy.” I also wondered about the space before that paragraph between “relative to” and “body size, and get attention” because it’s a continuation to the sentence before it, or maybe that just happened because of the picture.

  2. I love your title and the “just kidding” which opens the post. I also like the way you describe your birds as teens always getting into shenanigans, they are quite memorable as characters. I think it would be cool to maybe write your next blog post in the form of a sensational news article. Play around with genre–it seems like your birds are begging you to! Great post, Katie.

  3. Great post, I really liked the way you hooked us into the story, and as always you did an amazing job with hyperlinking. Overall I think this was a great post, very creative, and i love the way your voice came through in the piece. Moments like, “parronting” and “miniature pterodactyls” really stood out.

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