Bobby Pacino, our blue and gold macaw, will be ten years old this spring. He was hatched somewhere in the United States and sold to us at a pet store in Oklahoma City when he was just a pup. Err, baby? Kitten? Chick. When he was just a chick. A small, quiet one.
The first few days he was home with us were a lot like having a newborn infant, especially with regard to feeding and bonding. It was actually a very sweet time.
Then the next solid, unrelenting decade was a lot like having a dysfunctional toddler, especially with regard to, well, pretty much everything. A loud, messy, screaming, demanding, attention seeking, affectionate and VERY smart, un-CANNILY smart, but also disruptive and destructive, toddler. It’s been a whirlwind. A loving whirlwind.
Surely I’ve acquainted you with him here and there on this blog, right? I know I post photos of him to Instagram from time to time. Visitors to the dirt-and-hooves Lazy W cannot miss him. Pacino demands to not only meet but interact with everyone who enters the house or the yard, if it’s pretty weather and he’s outside in his big cage. Lots of our friends have become close with Pacino. Some are afraid of him. Others delight in ruffling his feathers. You know who you are. Pacino is a farm-ily member, and he is here to stay.
Yesterday I was reminded in myriad ways how different daily life can be when you live with a mature parrot. And friends, I use the word mature so loosely here I probably shouldn’t use it at all. But he is more or less of age; his personality is well formed; and he is vibrantly healthy and has full command of all his parrot faculties. He is a full time kinda guy. The thing is, he has spring fever or cabin fever or both, and this week he’s been telling me so.
“Hi, Mama. Gimme gimmee Kiiiiissss.”
So this installment of Friday 5 at the Farm is a cautionary tale for anyone who sees a parrot and thinks, “Oh how beautiful! He is magnificent! I wish IIIIIIII had a parrot!” Buyer beware, okay?
Five Things You Can’t Do When You Live With a Parrot
1. Talk on the phone. Pacino cannot stand to bear witness to what he perceives as a one-sided conversation. If he hears me talking, he naturally assumes I am talking to him. We are most of the time alone at the house together, after all. And if that phone conversation is filled with laughter, well, all the better. He joins in merrily and competes not quietly. The more I try to assert myself the worse it gets, and it seems I will never learn. So I rarely talk on the phone at all. I’ll chat with my best friend and my sister in law, like maybe once a month. Otherwise it’s just easier to text, seriously. The talking is just not worth the noise and drama on this end.
2. Watch yoga videos. Pacino especially likes female voices, and since most yoga videos are hosted by women I think that’s why he gets so riled up. But I literally have to sneak off to the furthest reaches of this house and close every door between us and play the video at low volume if I want any chance of watching and stretching in peace. Otherwise he screams and cries and attempts to opera sing at max volume the entire time. He wants to know this pretty yogi so much!! Not very Zen, you know? It really messes with my chakras and whatnot.
3. Eat anything all by yourself, especially things wrapped in cellophane. This is completely our fault, of course, because we have conditioned Pacino to accept all sorts of treats from us. But he now fully expects to share in any and all food that comes out of the kitchen, and it’s a problem.
4. Sweep the floor. This is ironic because Pacino’s indoor perch and his seed-scattering habits are the main reason we have to sweep the floor so many times per day. But he hates it. A lot. And he lets us know.
5. Kiss your husband. Birds are among the most territorial creatures I have ever encountered, and that is saying plenty. This glossy little blue Casanova is as jealous and needy as they come, so if Handsome and I feel like smooching, we have to do so at a safe distance or just accept the screaming and violent beak lunging that will inevitably follow.
There. If you can cope with these five lifestyle changes then you are one half step closer to maybe considering you might possibly be ready for parrot ownership.
And let’s clear that up while we’re at it, too: You don’t own your parrot. Your parrot owns YOU. That’s the way it works, man. No getting out of that. But if you love each other it’s totally worth it.
Happy Friday!! I am signing off to go grab my first 18 mile run of this season. Very excited. See you soon for talk of translating literature and pregnancy metaphors and freezer cooking ideas. Have the best Friday ever, ok?
“Hi! Are ya Happy?”