Friday, October 29, 2010

Serenade for parrots

Last night, Thomas had one of his (and the parrots') favorite CDs playing. He'd been wandering around the parrots, singing to them. Max had enough, and in the middle of her serenade, she flew off to her stand!

Rocky, however, loved it:Then, Max was a little sad that she'd spurned his afffections:
It's kind of hard to hear over Thomas and the CD, but when he sings like this to Rocky, Rocky hums a little bit. There's also some dancing. At the very end, that's Stella "singing" and Beeps beeping.


Yesterday morning, the greys were out. Thomas made his breakfast before the parrots were fed and watered. I was planning on doing that work myself, but he wanted to come in and help, leaving his breakfast for when we'd finished.

He had built a fortress around his breakfast so the greys wouldn't eat it before he got there:But then he realized that the fortress would not be able to withstand the onslaught from the greys, so he brought them into the living room. They played on their cages until we'd finished and could supervise them around the food again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stella's escapades

Last night, I ran downstairs to do laundry; Thomas was watching the parrots. When I came back, after a few minutes, he said, "I've got two pictures and a video for you!" Here are the pictures:And the video:

He later told me that he let her eat the second apple as he didn't want to tell her no on camera! In any case, he ended up eating two apples for dessert!

Later on, she flew over to the kitchen table and started throwing our spare change around:Rocky has done that before, but this was the first time I remember seeing her do this.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When I'm away...

...apparently the greys can do whatever they want:I had a meeting last night, so Thomas was alone with the parrots. These were the five pictures on the camera when I got home.
Every single one of those pictures was of the greys playing on the stairs. Where they are not supposed to be!
It used to be that only Max tried to play on the stairs, so this is an upsetting development that Stella has apparently decided to join in the fun.
Sorry, ladies, I am back home tonight, so I hope you enjoyed your stair exploration while it lasted!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday

Over the weekend, we were brewing/bottling in the kitchen with our alma mater's college football game on the radio. Things started to get really exciting, so Thomas ran in to watch the end of the game on TV. Beeps, Max, Thomas, and Rocky were all lined up in a row:Notice how Rocky is more interested in me than the game.

So much for baseball. The parrots were extremely disappointed that the Phillies did not win the National League pennant. They will be boycotting the World Series. Maybe next year, though the way things have steadily declined since 2008, no one is holding their breath.

Stella has developed a love of blueberries. Every morning, Thomas makes us fruit smoothies, including frozen blueberries. One day he left the bowl of frozen fruit unattended, and he returned to find Stella taking bites out of the berries! She prefers them thawed, so he now thaws her two berries every morning:
We only wish Max would gravitate towards the berries. She instead has a dairy-magnet in her, despite the fact that parrots shouldn't eat much dairy:
I ran a 10K race this weekend -- a personal best, though this was only my second 10K, so it's not like I had a lot of times to beat! Unfortunately, there was a problem with the scoring which resulted in my time not being listed in the official results! I contacted the race director, who was able to fix things (the next day). Sadly, I did not get my age group award as it had already been distributed to the woman who came in several places after me :( I guess I'll have to buy my own award.

Next week is a 15K -- likely my last race of the year. However, this race has a ton of participants, so I will not place in my age division.

We were able to get a bit of birding in, and spent quite a long time following a red-bellied woodpecker around a forest clearing. Thomas also lost his binocular covers -- not sure if we can somehow make/buy a replacement? We did try to locate them in the forest, unsuccessfully.

Forcing a friendship

Rocky has been extremely hormonal lately; Thomas has had to watch his body language more closely than usual to avoid a bite. He gets too worked up and then needs to calm down.

Rocky was trying to bite him over the weekend, so Thomas grabbed him to calm him down:Notice how ratty his tail feathers are getting from wandering around the floor and nesting under his cage! Then, Thomas decided to let Max preen his tail a bit. She will frequently try to preen his tail when they're both walking around the floor, but he doesn't allow it.
He didn't really seem to mind it, as you can see from the video -- look for quick glimpses of Stella and Calypso on the stands as well:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Miscellaneous Friday

As I was leaving work yesterday, I noticed a crow perched in a precarious position in a parking lot tree:There was a bit of wind, and she was being blown all over, making sure to keep her hold on the tiny branch. It reminded me of an amusement park ride!

Thomas got home before me yesterday, so all of the parrots were out when I got home. Knowing my routine, Rocky ran over to the stairs to try to scare me. I always go upstairs to my bedroom after getting home to change into lounging around clothes. Rocky likes to sneak attack me by hiding around corners, so must have been so delighted at this opportunity -- a sneak attack on the stairs!

Unfortunately for Rocky, Thomas discovered him before he could put his plot into action. (Also, after being attacked this way in the past, I am always aware of Rocky's position in order to prevent such an attack, so he wouldn't have been successful even if Thomas hadn't outed him.)

Thomas called me over so I could see the thwarted macaw, but Max arrived first as I had to grab the camera. She was not pleased to see him on the stairs (she considers the stairs to belong to her) and flew at him, forcing him to fly down to the ground.

When I pushed the button to take this picture, Rocky was on the stairs, but Max moved so quickly, this is the shot that actually stuck:
Max in mid-attack, even though her victim has already fled.

Speaking of Rocky, I think he might be secretly British. He's always had a good sense of humor, laughing at appropriate times, but the past few nights he's been unstoppable. We've been watching Fawlty Towers, through which Rocky laughs constantly! And always at appropriate times.

His laughter is so infectious that we've had to pause and rewatch on several occasions as we're laughing too hard to follow the show. Maybe Basil Fawlty gave him the idea to attack me on the stairs?

Quick running update -- earlier this month, I ran my 13th marathon, and ran a personal best time! The day was absolutely perfect -- one of those days I wouldn't mind being able to relive.

I've decided to run a marathon in all 50 states and DC. Having run 13 marathons, you might think I'm well on my way to reaching that goal, but sadly, that is not the case. I've run two different marathons six times each, so my 13 marathons result in only three states. I've got a long way to go!

Thomas and I will be running a marathon in late winter in another state (Thomas's first marathon in almost 10 years!) and I'm hoping to get at least three more states done in 2011, which will more than double my current total.

I'm so excited about combining travel and marathoning!

I'm at home, but upstairs. The parrots are in their cages, and they are so pleasantly vocal! They are singing, whistling, talking, beeping, kissing, etc. I miss their sounds when I'm at work.

The parrots are getting a little frustrated with their favorite baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Luckily they were able to stave off elimination last night. The game went on past their bedtimes, so they'd thought the worst and had a restless night. I had some very happy parrots this morning :) All we need now is a two game home winning streak. Go Phillies!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! As usual, we are trying to cram tons of stuff into our weekend, plus Thomas has to work. Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Rocky has long had an aversion to drinking out of human glasses. All of the rest of the parrots get excited when they see us pouring juice in a glass, and they eagerly sip away; Rocky always would beak at the glass, pushing it away from him.

Thomas has recently begun drinking Gatorade out of a mason jar, and Rocky has changed his tune (we don't let him drink a lot of Gatorade; just a sip.) We still can't believe it! I must add that Thomas had tried repeatedly, including earlier this week, to get Rocky to drink Gatorade out of a normal glass. It's definitely the mason jar, not the contents.*************************
Thomas may have been late to work this morning due to some amazing bird activity in our backyard. I was upstairs, and he yelled, "Get down here now! There's a woodpecker!" These pictures are not great as they were taken through glass, plus our camera doesn't zoom well.

Here is the downy woodpecker that caused all of the commotion:
There were a ton of these little guys foraging on the ground:
I'm not sure what they were. I'm going to do some searching around to see if I can figure it out, but I'm thinking junco. Additionally, there were a ton of robins and a black-capped chickadee. When I left for work about 30 minutes later, not a bird to be seen in our backyard. I was glad we didn't miss the show!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another break-in

Last night, Rocky again opened up the food door to Steve's cage and wandered in. At this point, the main cage door was closed. He then started pacing and doing his vomit-sounds, so we knew screaming was imminent if he didn't get what he wanted -- the cage door opened.

I'm not sure why he couldn't have sat on this perch and preened with the door shut, but such is the mind of a parrot.Personally, I think it's ridiculous to break into a closed cage and then scream because of where you are!

Another picture, just so you can see the beautiful blue of his flight feathers:
In other Rocky developments, Thomas informed me that I needed to break open Rocky's grapes before giving them to him. What? If the caiques, with their much smaller beaks, can break into the thin skin of a grape, a severe macaw certainly can. Also, his beak has no problems breaking through nuts or our aquarium stand!

When presented with a whole grape, Rocky balked at first but then had no problems eating it. And Thomas accuses me of babying the greys!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tug of War

The greys engaged in a tug of war over Thomas's breakfast over the weekend.

After Stella had eaten more than enough, he rigged the game so Max could get some. Stella showed her displeasure by applying pressure to Thomas's fingers -- she could have bitten him, but didn't. She just wanted him to know she didn't like this turn of events:Who would have thought that oatmeal, a bit of dried fruit, and almond milk would be so popular?

Stairing contest

The greys have been providing us with endless entertainment. Over the weekend, they were wandering around the house together, walking between the living room and kitchen and hanging out in the hallway.

They weren't getting into trouble, so I left them to their wackiness, albeit with some reminders that they can fly.

I think Stella wouldn't mind being friends with Max, but Max doesn't reciprocate. She allows Stella to come relatively close to her, and seems to enjoy being in the same room with Stella, but does not want to get too close. And sometimes she tries to escape from Stella and hang out with the humans. It's possible Max doesn't recognize that she is a bird!Perhaps to try to get away from Stella, Max climbed up a few stairs, but then wouldn't let Stella follow her. I was worried that carpet attacking might follow this, so they were removed from this area after I took the picture.

Air flow

This is where Rocky spent most of the weekend: perched on the edge of the couch, enjoying the flow of air coming from the air purifier:I wanted to maybe get him a little fan in his cage, so he could choose to get air blown on him whenever he wanted, but Thomas told me that was ridiculous and this will have to be a pleasure enjoyed only while out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grape saga

Thomas left the bowl of grapes on the counter over the weekend, so Max flew over and helped herself:Stella had previously thrown all offered grapes to the ground, so I was shocked when I noticed her chewing in front of the bowl:
For a short while, the greys were eating grapes in harmony:
Until Stella decided that the grapes on Max's side were more appealing:
I soon realized that Stella's aversion to holding food in her foot had a role in this. She loves grapes; she just doesn't want to hold them! I also realized that she'd taken one bite out of about 5 different grapes. Not wanting her to ruin the entire bowl, I had to take a different tactic:
I had to put the bowl back, so Max had grapes handed to her as well. As long as the bowl was around, Stella would prefer to take one bite out of each grape rather than eating the ones in front of her!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Max eats

My favorite farmer had grapes from his vineyard for sale this week which made the parrots, especially Max, very happy:As Thomas was pouring himself some almond milk last night, he noticed that the container suggested to share with a friend, so he took the container up on its advice:When Max eats something she particularly likes, especially if it's warm, she gulps it, like at the end here. What could possibly make her this happy? Sauteed zucchini!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mini Rocky attack

Thomas took this video last night, but it is sideways. In picasa, I figured out how to rotate it, but then when I exported, it went back to normal. Argh! It looks much better rotated, but you can still get the general idea sideways.

In any case, he captured on video a mini Rocky attack. In the beginning, you can hear his whistling/breathing thing he does when he's contemplating an attack. He slowly approaches his prey (Thomas and the camera.) Then he attacks, retreats, attacks again, thinks of attacking me, goes back to Thomas; end scene:

Since it involved Thomas and no bloodshed, I suspect this was a fake attack from the beginning.

Note: I have been trying to post this for several days, but am yet again running into video processing problems with blogger! I shouldn't complain, since it's free, but it's getting irritating! So this really happened on Monday night, not that it really matters.

Left behind, again

As they frequently do, Max and Thomas went downstairs together last night. Max loves going down there, and it's something that the two of them can do to reinforce their bond.

Feeling left out, Stella flew to the top of the stairs to wait for them:Her patience was rewarded (if you look closely, you can see Max perched on Thomas's right hand):

Last night

Last night, Thomas was petting Stella:Rocky felt a little left out, so he climbed over and Thomas grabbed him as well:After Stella flew away, Thomas and Rocky went to the window to look at the squirrels:Probably because I was there, Rocky climbed up on to Thomas's shoulder (where Rocky is not really supposed to go), drawing the attention of Max:Max jumped to the other stand:
So Thomas had to grab Rocky off of his shoulder for Rocky's safety:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stella's guide to getting what you want

Last night, Thomas was relaxing in the kitchen, reading a magazine. Stella decided she wanted some head pets, so she put a plan in motion.

Step one: approach your target; act really cute. Unfortunately, this method of indirect communication may not work, especially if your target is reading a magazine and therefore ignoring you.Step two: ask nicely. She pushed the nape of her neck into his hand. Even though he knew what she wanted, he was curious what she'd do next, so did not immediately comply.
Step three: repeat your demand, possibly with more force. Here, she gives his hand a gentle nip. Pay attention to me! Pet my head!
Step four: success! It may be hard to see from this angle, but his little finger is scratching her neck.
Silliness aside, things like this make me so happy! I love watching the parrots try to figure out a solution to their problem; especially if that solution does not involve biting, screaming, or any other undesirable behaviors!

Dirty beak

Rocky really enjoyed his dinner last night: