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