This is a Post About a Wizard.

Well… sort of. This is a post about Ollie, whose full name is Olórin, which was one of Gandalf’s names once upon a time before Middle Earth. I don’t think he gets enough screen time, you see:

(I’ll warn you, this has my voice in it. It’s weird, and I’m sorry.)

So, this little guy has a bit of story. First of all, truth. He’s not very little, regardless of the fact that he is the youngest. And yes, he is a pet store bird. I got him before I knew any better — before I understood that birds like Ollie are more commonly bought as decoration or as a first pet and then left in their cage without any attempt at interaction whatsoever. But enough; I have rambled on that topic before.

I drew this when Ollie first came home. It is hanging on my mom's fridge at the moment.

I drew this when Ollie first came home. It is hanging on my mom’s fridge at the moment.

Ollie was the only bird in the store of his kind — a yellow face recessive pied. Pet shops tend to call anything besides the normal green or blue varieties “Rare Parakeets.” They’re not rare, exactly. They just have less common genetics. (If you want to see a really rare parakeet, however — totally check out this.) All of my budgies, besides Gimli, are rares by pet store vernacular — King and Quill are your normal recessive pieds. So then there’s Ollie, being entirely too adorable and entirely different from the rest of the flock. I got him about a year and a half ago in Middletown, NY — and the only reason I picked him up was because he was the last one labeled “rare.” Also, even though he seemed really chirpy and enthusiastic, nobody liked him. This hasn’t changed much, as you might have seen in the video above. (My other parakeet Gimli likes him though.)

This is Ollie when he was a baby!

This is Ollie when he was a baby! Notice how he is the same size as then-2-year-old Gimli.

On Thursday, I had the flock out of their cages for general shenanigans while my friend was over and I cleaned up their dishes. My favorite thing is watching the pudgy parakeets walk across the top of the cage. Even better — running across a wooden surface. The sound is adorable. But — watching Ollie chase after Baby, this beast-bird of unusual size — well that’s just plain funny. And this happens every single time I let all of them out at once. Baby obviously thinks Ollie is annoying, but I appreciate his shenanigans. He just wants to be friends with everyone.

And ya know? Even among the parakeets, he isn’t so popular. He’s really big now that he’s full grown — heavy, too. That’s kind of unusual for ‘keets. To make matters more irritating to the others, Ollie likes to hang upside down and tweet, trill and coo like a dove into the other birds’ faces. Really, he’s a sweetheart and just wants to be friends. It’s comical to watch him try and fail each day. He’s like the geeky kid in middle school that everyone else would only tolerate for so long before walking away. (I know this from experience.) Kind of an underdog– underbird, rather.

He’s not so fond of humans, to tell you the truth. He was born and raised in a flock environment, and was added to a flock when I brought him home. He prefers bird company over human company — but if you catch him in the right mood, he’ll sit on your shoulder and sing your ear off. Sometimes he’ll trill like he’s made of an old school video game console on the inside, and sometimes — especially when he’s sleepy — he’ll coo like the neighboring dove from back in his petshop days. I can’t help but wish he’d be more willing to interact with humans — with me specifically. You really have to be in the right place, at the right time. People talk of cats doing only want they want — and while you can probably train birds easier than cats — birds will still ONLY do as they want. Nothing more.


Gimli & Ollie being floofy and adorkable.

But Ollie is, after all, named for Gandalf the Grey, who wanders away halfway through pretty much any book set in Middle Earth. He does his own thing. He continues to teach me that every being has its own personality, no matter how much people fight otherwise.  He’s a beautiful bird who is way more of a character than I could’ve imagined. So what if he doesn’t like me (or any human, for that matter) very much? So what if he doesn’t talk? He dances, and trills and chirps and it’s still just as awesome. I am the sort that can tell apart the sounds each bird makes, and me noticing which was which started with his trills. So what if this bird isn’t actually magical or did not really achieve the job of Wizard? Maybe to most others, he looks pretty boring compared to other parrots. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. He is definitely unusual in the best possible ways, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.


4 thoughts on “This is a Post About a Wizard.

  1. I like how you zoom in on Ollie, one bird, comparing them to the rest. You show how even though he’s different from the rest of the birds, and doesn’t talk, his differences is what makes him special, not boring. The first video reminds me of siblings, where the oldest sibling doesn’t want the youngest following him around all the time. When you talk about the parakeets running across the wooden surface, I could imagine the sound of their nails tapping across the floor. Maybe you could describe the sound more. You could also use a metaphor to describe the image of Ollie chasing after Baby, which will show the funny image of the two. You describe how he isn’t as popular with the other birds, which makes me think of that idea of the nerd no one wants to be with, or Dane Cook’s joke about how no one wants a “Karen” around. It’s interesting how human birds are, and I think Ollie expresses this idea. What if your title was A Wizard who Doesn’t Have Powers, or something that expresses Ollie’s oddness? This will refer to your last paragraph, with the question of a wizard who couldn’t achieve his job. Great job describing Ollie! I really enjoyed his character. I also liked the use of sound. If you add more when the birds are out of their cages, like where the hard wooden floors are, this will add more to the scene, giving more of a setting. Are the floors in your room wooden, and is there a carpet, where they would run across with the pitter-patter, to no sound at all?

  2. You got me right from the beginning! huge Lord of the Rings fan, and instantly got wrapped in the link, and Middle Earth history. The tie in was really great, I like the way you kind of profiled one of your birds, and brought out the point that they are all different, and they have their own little personalities, like humans do. I think you did a great job overall with the blog platform!

  3. I love this profile of Ollie. You really bring out his quirky and special qualities that make him unique from the others. I also like how you take the Lord of the Rings reference and tie it in with him, which worked out quite well to characterize Ollie. I wanted to see more of your interaction with Ollie and maybe specify a moment with you and him, like you did in an earlier post about Baby. You also briefly touch upon bird on bird interaction and the video definitely showed that, but again if there were more interaction between the birds the personality of Ollie would come out and build up his character even more.

  4. Katie, I love that you zoom in on Ollie and tie his character with Gandalf and Middle Earth. The video, photos and your descriptions of sound and the birds’ funny behavior really makes this post come to life–I felt like I was witnessing the shenanigans in real time. It seems like even thought Ollie prefers bird company, you have many close connections to him. Maybe consider focusing on showcasing more of this relationship and the parallels you both share to further strengthen his, as well as your character. Great post, I reallly enjoyed reading it!

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