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.
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.)
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.
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.