Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In which Max surprises me for a moment

Just yesterday, I responded in a comment that Max does not eat strawberries, so imagine my surprise when this scene was taking place on my counter:
Upon further review, Max did not undergo a sudden taste change.  Though it looks like she was eating strawberries, she was, in fact, only licking the water off of them, just like last year.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another nesting update

I didn't think I'd have another update since this one, with the possible exception of some fledgling activity in my yard (which I've seen but not captured on camera yet).  But the robins surprised me!

Earlier this week, we noticed that there was a robin in the nest again, sitting on eggs!  I'm guessing it's the same pair, raising another brood, though of course I have no way to know for sure.  It's nice to know we were welcoming enough that she wanted to try again!
In other nesting news, while Thomas was mowing the lawn last week, he noticed that there is another nest on our drain spout -- this one's in the back. The base looks similar to the robin's nest in front, but there is an elaborate topping to it.  We have not yet been able to figure out who's nesting there.  Fancier robins?  Maybe mourning doves as we've seen them flying in that area?  Something else entirely?
If we figure it out, of course I'll post.

Summer fruit!

My official beginning of summer always is when we pick strawberries.  Yum!
Brian was very interested in the strawberries, but didn't try them.  When I offered some to him, he moved his head away so I couldn't miss the fact that he wasn't interested!  (His tumor is quite pronounced in this photo):
If you've read any Brian blog entries, you probably know what is coming next.  I can usually only get one action shot of Brian before he has to run over and then it's just close-ups:
We are going to be eating a lot of fruit in the upcoming weeks, as it is also peach season:
The peaches are ripening on our kitchen counter.  We're hoping, with vigilance, to keep them free from beak marks, but we suspect there will be a few casualties.  Stella is our main suspect, though I guess I should wait for something to happen before making such statements.  We do not prosecute thought-crime!

Speaking of Stella, she is loving the strawberries, but as she is quite dainty, does not want to get her feet dirty.  If she can't find a human willing to hold the berry for her, she has to make do, either by just working the part she has in her beak:
Or by using an available flat surface:
There were some strawberry casualties this morning.  I had cut up a container of strawberries for me to bring to work as an afternoon snack.  I set the container by the back door so I would remember to take them with me.  A few minutes later, Stella had opened the container and had taken bites out of at least 7 berries!  I put the container out of her reach (in the fridge) and then forgot to take them to work!

My afternoon snack will be later than planned.

Mirror images

Pretty much every day the greys mimic each other, bringing us great joy.  If one is getting head pets, the other decides that she must get them as well, even though she'd been perfectly content seconds earlier.  Such must be the life of a flock member.
Almost every weekday morning, Thomas leaves for work over an hour before I do.  When he's going out to door to our attached garage, Stella flies over, lands on top of the fridge (she's not allowed there but it's close to the door he's exiting) and then makes sad noises until I put her on her stand with a nut to distract her from Thomas's departure.  Max, though she loves him, is pretty unfazed by him leaving.

Yesterday, he needed my help to find something in his car, so I went out with him.  When I reentered the house, this is the scene that met me:
Both greys on the fridge!  They were removed to appropriate perches and then we continued our morning activities.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Max and Rocky play together

Over the years, I've written about how Max and Rocky occasionally play together.  They don't physically interact (unless Max is pulling Rocky's tail or buzzing him) but they will be together in the same place, in relative harmony.

They've been doing this more frequently lately; usually initiated by Max.  Rocky pretty much minds his own business but will occasionally threaten her if she gets too close.  I took a few videos of this over the weekend.

We were listening to a new CD, one that I know Rocky had never heard since it came out after we adopted him.  There was something about the song that starts shortly after I started making the video that caught his fancy.  If you listen closely, you can hear him singing along (in a high-pitched, out-of-tune voice) for a second or two.  Then, he starts clicking and dancing, only pausing for my comment.  I stopped taping then, but he continued this for the rest of the song.
Max was playing in the grate of a playstand.  At the beginning, she throws down what looks like a discarded seed and then Rocky goes over to eat it - teamwork!
Who knows how this relationship will progress?  Rocky does not seem to want to befriend her, but he's pretty easy-going about her attempts, as long as she doesn't get too close.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Brian bathes (again)

I know I've posted similar videos before, but sometimes I can't control myself when it comes to Brian.  He was showing interest in Thomas's glass and since it was water and not Gatorade this time, he allowed Brian a peek, which quickly turned into a bath:

Friday, June 24, 2011

The lizards are still alive

Doing a recent search, I realized that it's been almost a year since my last update on the lizards.  They certainly don't provide the entertainment and photo ops that the parrots do!

In any case, as was the case last year, they are loving summer.  During the winter, I can go weeks without seeing them, but now, I see them every day.

They are reaping the benefit of our CSA as they are getting a wider variety of healthy greens than can be found at a grocery store.  They especially love anything that has yellow flowers on it (though I suspect dandelions are still their favorite.)

Here's, Elsa, thinking about trying these new greens out:
And, in mid-chomp:
They don't like their regular food to eat it out of my hand, so I make sure to feed them special treats like this at every opportunity.

Since they've been out of their hides more, Rocky has renewed his interest in Elsa, as her cage is at his level when he's walking on the floor.  Pretty much every day this week, he's gone up to her, greeted her, and then fake ate her (making chomping and chewing sounds and motions in her direction.)  She is oblivious to this, and he gives up after a few seconds.  I'd love to get it on video, but since it happens so quickly, this is unlikely.


Sometimes Max is so adorable I can barely stand it.  Other times, she is so irritating I wonder how I can put up with her.  I'm sure she feels the same way about me on occasion!  Luckily, there are more of the former than the latter, at least for me.  Not sure what she'd say the percentages were.

Whenever Thomas opens a new container of almond milk in Max's presence, he gives her the plastic that seals the container.  She loves this little treasure!
Here, she'd gotten her beak full of veggies.  I was trying to take a picture of this, but she was running around, so I picked her up and had her perch on my hand.  Immediately she started begging for head pets by modeling that behavior on herself.
Of course I gave in after taking a picture of her.  After more than 9 years of living together, she knows how to get what she wants.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I don't think I've mentioned anything about this for quite some time, but wood slices are one of my favorite parrot items, ever.  An untreated 2X4 pine provides many, many hours of entertainment.  If you have access to a saw and have some skills, they are one of the cheapest and most entertaining items for birds that I've been able to find.  Sometimes I drill them and hang them on wire, but frequently I am lazy and give them to the birds as-is.

Thomas slices them in various widths; the littler guys get more thinly-sliced wood:
I hide a bunch in Calypso's cage every morning and return home to a pile of wood chips.

Even Basil, who doesn't really play with toys (we're working on him!) loves them:
We leave a basket full of them out at all times for Rocky.  When he wants to chew, he wants to chew.  If nothing acceptable is around, he'll use the fishtank, baseboards, or other unacceptable substitutes.  By providing him with easily accessible acceptable wood, everybody wins!

Gardening set-back

Last week in our CSA, we got a tomato plant.  Our last attempt at gardening was unsuccessful, but we decided to try again.  We have a weedy/clovery section of our lawn, so Thomas planted it over there last Friday.  I didn't get around to taking a picture until Saturday, but by that time, there was only a little hint that a tomato plant had ever been there:

The likely culprit:
Someday we will have a garden, and I will have to try to figure out a way to outsmart the rabbits!  Until then, we'll just have to get our produce elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quick post

I brought the wrong camera with me today, so the posts I had planned for today will have to wait until tomorrow.  Here are a few random pictures instead:

Basil loves eating his greens every day!
This iguana was confiscated by animal control; I just happened to be wearing a green shirt when I met him.  Isn't he adorable?  Don't worry; my rational side prevailed and we won't be taking him home, even if we do match.
A picture of the sweetest macaw I've met in quite some time.  I am in love!  But I don't have room, so she will not be coming to live with us, either.  She gets so excited when she sees me or hears my voice, so the feeling is mutual.  She's been at the shelter a long time, but we think we're close to finding her a home.
I just love the 25+ year old blue and gold macaws.  I've threatened to stick Rocky in her cage during the night and take her home with me instead, but they'd immediately know it was me and they know where I live, so Rocky is safe.  Maybe he'll calm down a bit once he turns 25?  Only one more year to find out...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I've been incredibly busy -- hope to post more soon!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Covered in greys

Last night Thomas was sitting at the kitchen table when Max flew to his head and started roughly preening his head.  Stella, of course, had to then fly over; Max became more gentle once her rival was in the area.

If you look closely at this dark picture, you can see Max's foot holding a bunch of Thomas's hair:
Of course, this led to Thomas's usual refrain to the greys: "Get a hobby!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I didn't really take many pictures yesterday; just a couple of the greys.  Stella got a piece of strong stuck in her beak (we removed it after taking this picture):

And Max drinking water off of some green tops Thomas had given her:


I saw this while returning to my car after an appointment yesterday.  I was too scared to investigate what, exactly, was in back.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fred and Ginger

Thomas was dancing last night; Stella flew down from her stand and joined him.  By the time I had thought to get the camera, she was pretty bored with the whole thing, but you can get an idea of it in this video (earlier, she had been involving her wings):

At the end, she was going to start regurgitating to him, so he left her alone and I picked her up and threw her to her stand.  (That sounds violent; it's not.  She flies well and enjoys this!)

Brian's tough decision

This morning, Brian had a really tough time deciding which of his two favorite activities to engage in.  Jump around while Thomas swirls a glass of Gatorade, or mug for the camera?

At the end of this video, Thomas was a bit worried that he would jump into the glass (as he's done before) -- luckily this did not happen!

After, Thomas was eating his breakfast.  Brian loves cottage cheese, but we don't let him eat it since parrots can't digest dairy well, Brian is so small that even small amounts can affect him, and he's already got a giant tumor so we're trying to keep him as healthy as possible.

Thomas had the bowl in his hand instead of on the table to prevent Brian from helping himself, but even this was no match for a determined jumping budgie (who was removed right after I took this picture, before he ate any):

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Four in One

The lighting on these pictures was terrible, but for one instant last weekend, four of the parrots were harmoniously co-existing on the same stand.  This, despite the fact that another stand, exactly the same as this one, remained empty behind them.

Shortly after this picture was taken, they started chasing each other around, and chaos restored to our house.

Starting at the very top and moving clockwise, that's Stella, Max, Beeps, and Rocky.

Rocky builds another nest

Thomas recently purchased supplies to make another beer, which meant that Rocky got to enjoy one of his favorite boxes:

Though I ddin't get any pictures of it, he does frequently go entirely inside, and he will also bring some "eggs" (plastic balls) in there with him.

Thomas was taking these pictures, and after a bit, Rocky decided to come over and attack the camera instead of working on his nest:
I think he was just looking for some company, but Thomas wasn't interested.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Bought some radishes at the farmers' market earlier this week, which were enjoyed by the parrots.  Stella looks so mean and angry head-on!
And then friendly and happy from the side:
Same with Basil:
He did actually eat the radish and didn't just pose with it!

Mirror image

We had a stainless steel pot on the table; of course Brian found it and started showing off to the budgie he saw. He was getting a little too excited, so we removed the pot after I took this picture.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cape Parrot

Since it's been so hot, Thomas and I have a towel that we use to wipe sweat off of us after we're done running.  This towel was drying on a doorknob when Rocky found it and managed to get it to the floor.  It's an old towel; full of holes.
Rocky managed to get his head stuck in one of the holes, and then he walked around for a bit, wearing the towel as a cape.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Morning Brian

I don't keep track, but it seems like it's been awhile since I've posted about Brian.  Who would have thought he'd still be with us in Spring?

Here he is, peeking out as us from his half-covered cage while we're getting ready to run:
This morning, Max was in Thomas's lap and he was giving her head pets.  Brian was inexplicably enthralled by this.  Of course, when I tried to take a picture, he noticed the camera and ran over to mug:
I was finally able to sneak one of him watching Thomas give head pets to Max:
Not that you can tell it's Max from this angle!  Brian does not allow us to give him head pets -- he just bites us if we try.

Basil eats greens

Greens are really healthy for parrots, but to get my parrots to eat them (as opposed to throwing them around), I usually have to food process them up with other vegetables.  Not so for Basil.  I walked past his cage this morning with the container of lizard food.  For some unknown reason, I offered the dish to him to see if he'd be interested in a green.

He gave the container a weird look and foraged through a few leaves before deciding which one he wanted.  And then he ate the entire thing.
He'd eaten part of a carrot earlier which is why there's some under his beak and on his feet. He's quite the messy eater!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nesting in the open

Rocky continues to be ruled by hormones.  He bit Thomas last week when Thomas asked him to step up, so he's using the stick a bit more (I always use the stick.)  So that he could spend more time with the family instead of hanging out underneath his cage, we put a box in the kitchen.  We weren't sure he'd take to it, but he did.
As always, a disclaimer: we've made the decision to allow Rocky to nest as it has no impact on his behavior.  (As in, his behavior does not improve if we remove nesting materials.)  Also, since he is a male, we do not need to worry about egg-binding problems.  We do not allow our females to nest.  This keeps him happy, occupied, and rather quiet.  Despite the fact that Thomas has never laid an egg for the two of them to incubate, Rocky continues to hope. 

Greys and veggies

Another CSA delivery means the greys getting in on the action.  For instance, competing to take bites out of turnips and beets:
Kind of hard to find Max among the greens:
Of course Max wasn't the only one.  Stella with her beak in a head of lettuce:
Both of them, at the same time:
Thomas has devised this wonderful recipe of cooked millet and greens, which is how we've eaten many of the greens.  Max loves it as well!

Both before it's cooked:
And after: