This blog is a story where I am only one character. The major players in this game are indeed the birds that I share my apartment with, and who have sparked a frenzy of research into what it actually means to own a parrot, and to be a caretaker of these amazing creatures. See, I never realized before how much we equate intelligence to how it works in humans — but we just can’t do that when we’re talking about parrots. If you follow this story, and get to know these particular parrots — you’ll see what I mean. Due to this, they own me. And — I’m okay with that.
Follow the photo above left to right — shoddily taken on my smartphone, of course.
Why? : His previous owner watched him hatch.
Personality: Tries to rule to roost. Key word: tries. Very cute, but kind of bossy. Sings more than your average top 20 pop star.
Likes: Fruit Loops, all sorts of millet, teasing my roommate’s tripod cat, landing on the noggin of the tallest person in the room, and the Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare.
Dislikes: The smell of mint chapstick, red slippers, off-key whistling, Ollie’s enthusiasm, going back in his cage and birdie bedtime.
He knows how to say: Baby Bird, Birdie Bedtime, Hey Baby, Whatcha Doin? & Pretty Bird
Silliest Quirk: If you whistle too close to his ears, he’ll slowly whip his head away from you, before flying away.
Why? : When he was brought home, I thought he would be as nervous and hyper as Quill. He was going to be named Pippin! But instead, because was very brave, and stepped up / sat & sang with me immediately, he got the name Gimli, after the Dwarf in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
Personality: Brave and Hungry, but he keeps to himself for the most part.
Likes: Food, swings, and Ollie.
Dislikes: Quill’s attitude, those nasty pellet things, fruits & veggies, and not being able to see the flock.
Talents: He is the smallest bird, but seems to be the strongest. Has single handedly overturned full dishes of water and food if they displeased him. In an older cage, he was strong enough to be a food-door escape artist.
Silliest Quirk: Will nervously prance back and forth along the perch closest to where the food bowls are supposed to be when they are removed for cleaning and refilling.
Why? : Named after Tolkien’s character Gandalf, during the time depicted in the early Silmarillion.
Personality: Way too smart, slightly nervous or cautious, yet mostly incredibly joyful and playful.
Likes: Perches that are good for acrobatics, toys that have lots of surfaces to climb on, the rope-perch swing, being best friends with Baby, bath time and Gimli.
Dislikes: Stepping up (we’re working on that), when he forgets to fly, and when quill pecks his toes while he’s hanging upside down.
Talents: He’s the prettiest singer of them all, and can also make dove sounds. He frequently does when he is settling down for nap time. He’s also known to sound exactly like an old school Atari trill, despite never having been around such a machine.
Noteworthy: He is the youngest budgie of them all and yet is bigger than all the rest of them. He’s also very soft compared to the rest!
Silliest Quirk: He’s an acrobat, and often will hang upside down from a perch to tweet directly onto the face of whomever happens to be below him, bird or otherwise.
Why? : I got him while still in the dorms, and I named him after King Schultz, as played by Christoph Waltz in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” as a way to appease my then-roommate, Nikki Hitze.
Personality: Hates all human beings. Or at least that’s what it seems like until he’s not within viewing range of the flock. Then he’s a sweetie and sings right directly in your ear.
Likes: occasional solitude, soft perches, krinkle paper, and Quill.
Dislikes: Being bothered, sharing toys or food/water dishes, human hands in his cage, really big new things.
Talents: Puts up with Quill’s attitude really well.
Silliest Quirk: Being that budgies are all very social, he’s got an introvert’s personality. He’s okay with some level of socialization, but you’ll always find him playing all by himself at least once a day. If you can get him to come with you without scaring him, he also loves one-on-one human attention, which none of the budgies prefer over time spent with the flock.
Why? : He was my first budgie, and I had no idea about genetics and budgie breeding — he’s a recessive pied. I couldn’t tell at that time if he was a boy or a girl! So I chose Quill, after the Rito Postman in Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker — which would be okay for either gender.
Personality: Very opinionated, nervous and bossy. He’s got quite the attitude, and tries to rule the roost. Again, keyword: tries. King’s the only one who puts up with that.
Likes: Dancing, pellets — sometimes, string and working literally all day to untie knots, and King.
Dislikes: Change (at first), being surprised, being away from the cage for any reason against his will, being wing clipped (which they are no longer now that we’re not in a dorm.)
Talents: Unties knots like a pro. Has unyielding concentration skills when it comes to this. Also, whenever he has an opinion, he makes the loudest “ack ack” sound I have ever heard in my life.
Silliest Quirk: There’s a perch made of wood in his cage, and there’s a small nub where a twig was once. He scratches his own head with this.
Why? : Her previous owner admired her cinnamon pearl markings.
Likes: Cuddles, anything shiny, preening, bath time, scritches, garlic toast, fruit loops, wicker, string & knots, and krinkle paper.
Personality: She is really cute and cuddly. A little bossy, but not much. Doesn’t talk or sing much, but is still very expressive and intelligent. Just loves being on and around people in general.
Dislikes: random loud noise, random movement, new things (at first), getting her feet stuck in people’s curly hair, when Baby gets attention and she doesn’t.
Talents: Can wreck a wicker toy in about three hours. A very thorough preener — she will find and attempt to remove any imperfection on your skin — be it hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, freckles, acrochordons — you name it.
Silliest Quirk: Loves water bottle mist showers, and will hold her wings out over her head like an umbrella in order to get all her flight feathers washed.