Friday, April 29, 2011

Max vs. socks

Oh, how I wish I had a video of this, but my description will have to suffice.

Yesterday morning, Max was on her stand in the kitchen.  Thomas came downstairs, dressed for work, and threw his socks on the table while he went to get his shoes.  As he threw his socks, Max flew over and tackled the socks, mid-air.  Then, socks clenched in her feet, she rolled on her back and started attacking the socks.  She rolled over a few times and fell off of the table, landing on the floor, where she continued to wrestle with the socks while on her back.  (For a partial image of what this looked like, see Homeless Parrot's header -- but instead of Titus with a spoon, picture Max aggressively attacking socks.)

We could not stop laughing.  Attempts to recreate this for the camera were unsuccessful.


Last night, Max was banging Thomas's water glass around.  (As an aside -- we have tons of glasses at home -- not sure why he insists on drinking from a mason jar.)  She was letting us know she was thirsty:
I told her she looked like a fancy lionhead goldfish that orange vegetable stuck to her beak:

Misbehaving Greys

The greys have been very naughty lately.  The thing that kills me about them is they know when they're doing something they shouldn't -- and choose to do so anyway.  I had some meetings this week which resulted in Thomas having to be alone with them for a few hours after work.  They seem to particularly act out when there's only one human at home.

I called him to tell him I was on my way home, and he asked me to get home ASAP as the greys were driving him nuts.  When I got home, he told me they'd been going nonstop and "checking off all of the items on their naughty list" including flying to the fridge, fighting with each other, eating magazines, throwing things on the floor, throwing things in the garbage, trying to eat onions...

This picture is dark, but it just makes me laugh.  It's very rare that both greys are on the fridge at once -- they usually stagger this stunt.  Max knows she's not supposed to be there -- as soon as I approached (to take a picture), her foot sprang up because she knew she was going to be removed:
Which she was, but not until I took this better picture (sadly, with no foot asking to be picked up):
Our solution is increased exercise for them to get their energy out and increased vigilance about acceptable behavior.

Once Basil goes home, there's a grey at the rescue I'd like to foster, but if these two keep this up, I'm not sure I can convince Thomas to agree!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Persistent robins

We have a couple of very persistent robins trying to build a nest on our porch light:

We do not want them building a nest here.  I know a family whose house burned down when birds built a nest on the porch light.  We never turn out light on, so this shouldn't happen, but I still like to be safe about things.  Also, we use our front door to get our morning paper and when we run, so I don't want to irritate them or have them abandon their babies due to our presence.

I removed one nest and tried to get them to nest on our window ledge, but they ignored that and built another nest on the light.  Thomas removed that one and placed it on the downspout:
They have shown no interest in this relocated nest.  I'm not sure what to do.  I'm thinking about just giving in to the robins.  They should have scouted the location, so maybe they're OK with us going in and out through the door.  Thomas is not ready to surrender, but maybe if I mention removing the light bulb he'll change his mind.  We could go in and out through our back door, though it's certainly less convenient, but my paper delivery guy already thinks I'm a little crazy, so we're pretty much stuck there.

Accident waiting to happen

Although I do not allow the parrots on my shoulders, Thomas has become lax about this, especially with Rocky and Stella.  He's the one risking facial bites and hearing loss and he knows my stance on this. Yesterday, Rocky had climbed out of his sleeve and onto his shoulder.

Seeing this, Stella had to fly over as well.  He removed them immediately after I took this picture.  Though they are not parrot-aggressive in general, I would not allow him to take chances that something could happen.

Sleeve buddy

Rocky continues his all-out assault on our hearing.  As happens on occasion, he is agitated, which results in near-constant screaming.  I know this will end in a few weeks, assuming he follows the pattern, but it is very difficult to live with!

He usually doesn't scream when he's on Thomas; unfortunately, Thomas has things to do and can't always have a macaw perched on him.  He's found a handy way to stash Rocky -- in his sleeve:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rocky fake eats

I haven't posted about this for at least a few months, but Rocky continues to fake eat.  You have to listen closely.  Thomas was eating a sun-dried tomato.  Rocky is pretending to, and then occasionally pretending to eat Thomas's hand.  At the end of the video, he is coming over to threaten me.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Max continues in her hormonal ways.  For her, this manifests itself in the near constant demand for head pets.  If she's on a stand and we walk by, she starts petting her own head while looking at us.  If we're at another location, she flies over and rams her head into our hand while saying "want some!"
Sometimes she'll decide to look for food instead; she was sad when she thought she'd scored a coup on our dinner, but it turned out to be empty dishes:
That night's consolation prize?  Head pets, of course:

Brian Update

In the comments, Beloved Parrot had asked for a Brian update (thanks for asking!)  He's still doing really well.  I haven't been writing about him much here since he's gotten into a routine, so not much new to report.  He's so adorable, however, I may have to post pictures of him even if the accompanying text isn't too exciting.

Every morning, he wanders around the kitchen table, visiting Thomas and me as we attempt to read the paper.  He knows just where to stand to get our attention:
And then, once the camera comes out, he runs over to strike a pose:
He does seem to be sleeping more than usual, which is to be expected in such an old bird.  However, when we have him out, he's as active as ever and continues to bring us great joy.  He's started saying "Aw, such a good boy!" which is something I think he picked up from our house.  He also frequently informs us that he's "gotta go bye-bye" but we tell him that he needs to stick around for a long time.

Weekend birding

We got out birding a bit on Sunday.  Saturday, we spent nearly 7 hours running 36 miles on the trails -- our last long run before our race in a few weeks.  Needless to say, after that we tried to convince ourselves to do a little birding Saturday evening, but were too tired to leave the house!

Sunday meant shorter runs, and time to bird.  We went to a place near our house where we've seen a Great-horned Owl daily on our early-morning running route.  Thomas seems to have a sixth sense to see him, and it didn't fail us yesterday.  He spotted the owl from this distance:
He then used our scope to locate him so we could get a good view.  So gorgeous!  We spent quite a long time watching him.  He'd nap a little bit, preen himself, look around.  Unfortunately, we don't have a great birding camera yet, so these pictures are only OK:
We then headed to a local woods near a lake.  We saw tons of waterbirds including Horned Grebes, many kinds of ducks, and American Avocets!  These last are very rare in our area -- in fact, our birding books do not show that they are in our range at all.  The park ranger mentioned to us they were there, otherwise we probably would have not figured out what they were.  Unfortunately, none of the pictures turned out, which has stoked Thomas's longing to get a better camera.  Walking in the woods, we got a great view of a Barred Owl.  All in all, it was a great day, and we returned home to spend the evening with the parrots.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Basil and his tool

Everyone is molting at our house right now, and that includes Basil.  I noticed last night that one of his tail feathers was askew and likely to come out soon.  He noticed this before it fell out on his own and I had to get the camera when I saw him like this:
A few minutes later, he started using the base of the feather as a tool to scratch his head.  He must have done this for over 10 minutes.  He will not allow us to scratch his head, so this must have felt really good!
When he dropped the feather, Max started playing with it, though she then dropped it when I tried to get a picture of that.

Back in the kitchen, I thought she might want to play with his feather.  She was initially wary:
But then preened it a bit.  I wonder if it's very different preening an amazon feather than the grey ones she's used to?

Fake attacks

Rocky was fake attacking me last night.  I think this might be a sign on endearment since he does it to Thomas, but I'm not taking any chances.  My body is far away from his beak as he fake attacks the blanket.

He loses interest after a short while and climbs down the couch to search for something more interesting to do.  Which usually means finding Thomas.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Weapon or writing utensil?

Stella's molting, which means we find feathers all over the house as she drops them while flying around.  Last night, she dropped a flight feather.  I picked it up and was pretending to write with it, as though I were in the 18th century.

I did this a little too close to Stella, who angrily grabbed the feather back from me.  She aggressively preened it a few times and then let it drop to the floor.

She kind of looks like she wants to stab me with it, though.

Needy Max

Max has been so needy lately.  She wants almost constant head pets.  This can be challenging when we're trying to do things and also take care of the rest of the parrots.  But how can we resist when she sits there, scratching her own head and giving us pleading looks?
The answer: Thomas can't:

A bit of nesting

Rocky was tearing into a shoe box I had on the parrots' stands.  He usually just rips up boxes inside his cage, but he apparently liked this change of scenery:
A few minutes later, he'd thrown the inside tissue paper down on the floor and then climbed down and wrapped himself up in it:


In our house, brazil nuts are not popular.  In fact, the time that Beeps chose to eat one was so extraordinary I posted about it here.  Last night, I again offered each parrot their choice of nuts.  Everyone chose cashews, except Basil who immediately went for the brazil nut.  Of course I had to get a picture of that!
Later, he went up for dinner and had a beak full of food.  I never get tired of seeing this -- it always makes me laugh!

As did Calypso:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poor Rocky

 So neglected that he has to climb on Brian's cage to eat budgie seed:
He mustn't have found anything he wanted, as soon after these pictures were taken, he climbed down and went to his cage for his real breakfast.

Stella the bully

Thomas and I have recently realized that Stella is a bully.  She pushes Max around, seemingly for no other reason than she can.  Several incidents this weekend crystallized this for us.

Episode One:

Max is on the counter, drinking water first out of Thomas's glass:
And then mine:
We love how she puts one foot on the rim of the glass -- as though that would stop us if we wanted to take it away from her!  But, as she was taking a drink, Stella had to fly over and chase her away:
She was not thirsty; she just wanted to ruin Max's fun.

Episode Two:

A few minutes later, Max had flown to Thomas's head and was doing weird things.  Since she's a bit hormonal, this probably had something to do with that.  I just wanted to get some pictures of this and was going to remove her, but my intervention was not necessary.
 The big bully flew in, landing on Thomas's shoulder, and scaring Max off.
Episode Three:

A few minutes after that, Max flew down to the table to solicit head pets.  (Thomas was incredulous -- "You attack my head and then want head pets?")
 Of course, Stella had to fly down to interrupt this as well:

Of course we make sure that no one gets injured, but we feel it's best to let them work this out themselves.  If Max seemed stressed out by this, we might have to take a different tactic, but she takes it in stride and doesn't let Stella bother her.  Poor Max -- I'm sure she pines for the days when she was an only bird.

Weekend of running and birding

Thomas and I took yesterday off as we needed to get another long run in.  I am very much looking forward to this race being done so we can go back to normal amounts of running.  Yesterday we left the house before 7 am and got home after 2 pm.  Five and a half hours of running as well as driving out to the trail.  Why are we doing this again?

In happier news, our first year Northern Flicker of the year arrived.  He spent a long time foraging for ants in our backyard:

Yesterday, we also saw our first of the year yard White-breasted Nuthatch and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker -- at the same time!  As we were trying to look at them, Max kept flying to our heads and tapping on our binoculars with her beak.  Typical.

Speaking of Max, here's another dirty beak picture:

While out birding on Sunday, as we were leaving, we noticed a turkey staring at her reflection in the glass of the nature center building.  Evidence suggests she does this regularly.  We told her to go and find a real turkey to befriend, but I don't think she understands English.

Back at home, Stella was standing on her perch, staring out the window.  Interesting parallel with the turkey.

Friday, April 15, 2011

In which the greys are not helpful

I've recently started a new routine on Thursdays.  I usually leave work a bit early and go up to the rescue where I volunteer.  This means I'm not always home at 5 if I get busy doing something.  In order to make sure that dinner is always ready and I don't feel guilty for staying a bit longer at the rescue, I've been making something in the crock pot (usually a vegetarian lasagna) that morning.

Yesterday, I left the greys unattended in the kitchen while I ran upstairs for a second.  Thomas had chopped a bunch of the veggies before leaving for work, but he was gone by the time this happened.  I returned downstairs to find that Max had helped herself to some of the unattended cauliflower:
 No big deal, especially as it appeared as though she were actually eating it and not just destroying it as a game.  Though it was funny that as soon as she saw me, she flew over to the table, as though I was going to take the vegetable away from her?  She should know better!

I had to leave the room again for a few minutes, and returned to chaos!  Max had started throwing the cauliflower out of the bowl, not even eating it.  Possibly she saw the carrots and was trying to get down a level?

Additionally, Stella had joined her on the counter and started making inroads on the mushrooms:

This goofiness continued for a few minutes, with not much of the lasagna getting made.  Finally, I put them in their cages and was able to finish assembling in order to still get to work on a timely basis.

Speaking of the rescue, I had kind of a rough day up there yesterday.  There are two wonderfully sweet severe macaws up for adoption.  I spent quite some time scratching their heads and reminding myself we can't take anyone else home.  Both were certainly neglected, possibly abused, and suffer permanent physical deformities due to their past care.  And they are still loving (yet homeless).  There is also an amazing timneh who spent some time on my arm, continually aiming kiss sounds at my direction.  And then of course a few adorable quakers, a charming blue and gold macaw, and so many others.  As always, I just feel like I should be able to do more.  Blech.

Enough of that.  It's Friday!  Thomas and I have tons of running to do this weekend.  We also have plenty of other things that need to get done, but we may be so exhausted from the running that napping becomes a high priority.  And I'll be OK with that.  Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!