Saturday, November 26, 2011

Parrot Update

It’s been 5 months since our last post and it’s about time we shared some updates! 
Here’s what’s going on in the Mason household…

Unfortunately she’s lost the remainder of her eyesight in her right eye and can no longer see.  She can see bright lights, such as a laser pointer, but cannot see objects that are directly in front of her.  It took a couple weeks to adjust to the change but she’s doing just fine now.  We moved her food and water dishes to the floor in her bedroom and put together a makeshift bed using towels and blankets.  She loves it and roams freely.  We make sure everything is always in the same place so it’s easy to find.  We also continue our usual routines and she’s on the couch every night for a 2-3 hour petting session.  She LOVES the back & neck massage and just can’t get enough!  If I fall asleep while petting her, she’ll yell at me and grab my arm to wake me up. 

We think Moshi has a big crush on Angel.  He’s so protective of her and will hiss at me when I clean her cage.  Angel seems to appreciate the attention, but she’s just too independent to take on a “boyfriend”.  So for now, Moshi is just a friend.  J

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bunch of Chatterboxes

Here’s some of the latest words from the birds:

He’s been calling my name whenever he sees me.  “Hey Adrienne…. Adrienne!”.  He won’t be satisfied until I respond with, “Hi Taz”.  I just wish, for once, he would call me mommy…  J

While I was cleaning the cages this morning she asked, “How are you today?”.  After I responded, she then said, “Wanna go see daddy”.  Unfortunately, daddy was working today but he did stop home to see her during lunch.  She was a happy camper for the rest of the afternoon.

He’s picked up some interesting words these last couple weeks.  The other day he said, “Bang bang” followed by “Good girl”.  We know this originated from a trick that Neo does when she stands on our hand.  We use our index finger and thumb to make a pretend gun, we’ll hold it to her chest and say “Bang bang”.  She then falls backwards and hangs upside down without moving.  When I say “Good girl” she pops back up.

She’s a dancing machine and likes to say “Go Angel, go Angel” over and over while head-banging.  It’s quite a sight!

As far as we know, Moshi doesn’t talk but he does love to squeak.  It’s a very soft and feminine squeak that he’ll make when he’s happy.

The Mason family has a new addition… Moshi!

Moshi is an 11 year old male Moluccan Cockatoo.  He was inherited by a family who could no longer care for him.  We know very little about the guy and it’s only been a week since we brought him home.  What we do know is that he is extremely shy and nervous.  He does not let Ron or I pick him up (yet) but he does come in and out of his cage on command.  I open the door and say, “You can come out Moshi”.  He’ll then come out and climb to the top of his cage.  When we want him to go back inside we’ll say, “Moshi, time to go back in your house” and he’ll climb down and go back inside. 

He likes when we sit near his cage and talk to him quietly.  He’ll ruffle his cheek feathers and watch us.  Every day, when I arrive home from work, I’ll sit next to his cage and talk about my day.  Even though he won’t let me touch him, he’s become much calmer as the days have passed.  I think he’s learning to trust us and I realize it may be awhile before he’s comfortable enough to step up onto our hand.  That’s okay though, there’s no need to hurry and we’re more than content with moving at a slower pace.

Although Moshi is shy with people he’s certainly not bashful when it comes to people food.  He jumps face first into almost everything we’ve given him.  He’s not a big fan of the bird pellets so we might have to get creative if this pattern continues, but he loves his corn, bananas, oranges and mixed vegetables.  He’s willing to try everything at least once so I’m a very happy mom! 

Right now, while I’m typing this blog, Moshi is on top of his house looking down at me.  His cheek feathers are ruffled and covering his beak.  He’s standing on one leg and his eyes are only half open and he appears to be settling down for a little nap.

Here’s a picture of the new guy.  Sorry for the poor quality, the lighting wasn’t too great since the sun never came out to play today.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Birdie School!

Today’s the FIRST day of BIRDIE SCHOOL!  I’m going to teach all the kids (at least those who are willing to learn) numbers and colors.  I purchased a little basket, some mini rubber ducky’s (for counting) and some paper apples (for colors).  Before starting the class, I placed the basket in the middle of the room so the birds could become familiar with the strange contraption.  After a couple hours, I decided we were ready to start.  I pulled out all the objects from the basket and laid them out on the floor so they could see the individual items.  I returned the paper apples and kept out the four ducks, but hid three of them in my hand.  I placed one duck on the floor and repeated “How Many?” and then responded with “One”.  After a minute or so I moved on to a second ducky, then a third.  I’m saving the fourth duck for a later class.  Their attention spans are next to nothing so a 10-20 minute session is all I’m able to do. 
After counting I moved on to colors.  I pulled out the red apple and asked, “What Color?” and then responded with “Red”.  I did this several times before moving on to Yellow.  Interestingly, they were fascinated with the word Yellow so I was able to sustain their attention for a few minutes before moving on to Blue.  I cycled through the colors one last time before ending the class with a "Great job guys, class will resume next Saturday!"

Neo and the Missing Water

This morning I gave the kids sugar snap peas.  They all gobbled them up except for Hannibal, I had to give her our special Birdie Bread (her absolute favorite).  When they were finished, I washed the food bowls & water bowls since they LOVE to make “soup” with their food.  I suppose it’s a bird thing. 
Anyway, while I was washing the dishes my husband heard Neo say, “Waaaatteeerr”.  Apparently she was very thirsty and just couldn’t wait for me to finish washing the bowls.   Of course I rushed to get them cleaned and filled so she could take a drink.
It’s official, I’m their slave.  :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Angel (Female Umbrella Cockatoo)

Angel is the baby of our family.  She’s 3 years old and loves to cuddle and scream, depending on her mood.  We are certain she suffers from a bipolar disorder but that doesn’t weaken our love for her.  We try to accommodate her “crazy” outbursts but it can be challenging.  She’s a devious little creature who lures you in with her sweet innocent eyes, her soft girly voice, but just when you least expect it, her crest goes straight up in the air and she screams bloody murder.  I think she’s got the crazies…
When she isn’t demonstrating strange behavior, she can be a huge ball of laughs.  She loves to dance to good beats and she talks up a storm.  One of her favorite lines is, “What are you doing?”.  Angel wants to be involved in everything so we make sure she’s always included (otherwise we’ll suffer from another episode of the “crazies”).    
Here’s a shot of Angel:

Taz (Male African Grey)

Taz (aka “Roo”) has an amazing personality with the intelligence to match.  He’s 5 years old and LOVES to talk, sing, dance and whistle.  He’s one of the few who enjoys showers and gets excited when we pull out the spray bottle.  His vocabulary is comparable to Neo’s and they tend to have regular conversations with each other.  The chats usually go like this:
Neo:  Hey, Roo
Taz: Hello
Neo: How are you?
Taz: Grrreeaat
Neo: Can you whistle?
Taz: (whistles)
Taz is, without a doubt, a true momma’s boy who can never get enough head scratches from me.  He’ll let me hold him forever and rarely displays aggression.  When it comes to other people such as Ron, he’s not always as friendly.  His moods are getting better with age, but sometimes he gets grumpy and nippy.  It’s best just to let him be and pick him up later.  At night, when we put them away in their cages, sometimes I have to take care of him because he nips at Ron’s fingers.  It’s easy to tell what kind of mood he’s in by looking at his eyes.  When they’re slightly slanted, watch out.  But most of the time, he’s very gentle and outgoing.
Here’s a picture:

Andre – The Aspiring Interior Decorator

Today, after vacuuming the bird room, Andre decided to “decorate” the rug with his food.  Apparently it lacked color…

Friday, June 3, 2011

Andre (Male Blue & Gold Macaw)

Andre's our second bird; he’s 6 years old and will be 7 this summer.  If there’s one word I could use to describe Andre, it would have to be “entertainer”.  He goes out of his way to get your attention and when you finally look at him, he’ll do something goofy.  For example, if I’m busy handling one of the other birds, Andre will throw his food all over the floor and ring his bell (loudly) until you look over.  And when you finally do, he’ll wave his foot and say, “Hello”.  He’s a ball of laughs and he never fails to put me in a good mood when I’m feeling down.  I remember years ago, before Ron and I purchased our first home, we were living in an apartment that had a chandelier in the dining area.  Andre was standing on his playstand watching television with us when he decided to turn around, look up at the chandelier and repeat over and over, “Wow”, “Wow”, “Wow”.  My husband and I just looked at each other and laughed.  He’s such a goofy bird.
Andre has a large vocabulary and loves to dance.  He does a great Stevie Wonder (swaying side to side), and loves to bounce up and down when he’s happy.  He always says “Popcorn” whenever you give him a special treat (even though it’s usually not popcorn), he likes to lift his foot up and say “High five”, and whenever he’s eating something tasty, he’ll repeat “Mmmmmm” over and over until he’s finished. 
Before I go, there’s one important observation I have to share – when it comes to parrots, the boys are (by far) messier than the girls.  I blame it on the Y chromosome… 
Here's a picture of Andre on our deck:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Neo (Female African Grey) - Narrated by Adrienne

It all began with Neo, our first bird who’s now 10 years old.  I admit, we didn’t know what we were getting into when we first brought her home.  Even though we purchased several parrot books and completed hours of research before we made the decision, it didn’t fully prepare us for the huge personality that was hiding under those little grey feathers.  When she was about a year old, she uttered her first words, “tickle, tickle” (we’d always say that when we tickled the bottom of her feet).  My husband and I were floored; our bird just talked!  I mean, we were used to cats and dogs so having a pet that could communicate using the English language was pretty darn cool. 
It didn’t take long before she added, “Hey mister”, “Got your feet”, “Got my beak”, “Got my nose”, “Gotta go potty”, “Eskimo kiss”, “It’s chilly”, “Popcorn”, “Will you be quiet”, “Good girl”, “Hey Neo”, “Hi Princess”, “How are you”, “Mommy’s gotta go to work”, “I love you”, “See ya later”, “Have a good day”, “Happy bird”, “I’m sorry”, “Hey Ron”, “Mommy’s home”, and a number of other creative sentences.  She can imitate the microwave, house alarm, kissing sounds, doorbell, phone etc.  She does it so well that I’ve actually went running for my phone or the door thinking someone was there.   She can also use my voice or my husband’s voice when she speaks.  It’s funny when she yells, “Hey Ron”, using my voice and my husband comes rushing into the room to see what I want. 
There’s another story that I just have to share, it made me appreciate the scope of her intelligence.  Several years ago, my husband was stationed in Iraq and I was home alone with Neo.  I was sitting on the couch, feeling a bit lonely and Neo was sitting on her playstand.  She knew I was feeling sad and she looked me in the eye and asked, “Mommy, do you miss daddy”?  My jaw hit the floor and I remember looking at her and thinking, “My God, she’s a human with wings”.  I immediately answered her question with a yes, picked her up, and gave her a big hug and kiss.  She helped me get through some rough times and I’m just so thankful to have her in my life.    
Okay, here’s one more story before I go…
Even though Neo is a total sweetheart, she has her cranky moments.  One time, she was being moody and bit my finger out of spite.  I responded with a, “No, that’s not nice”, and put her in her cage and covered the top.  A couple minutes later, I saw her peeking from under the sheet and she said, “I’m sorry”.  Boy did she make my heart melt.  I couldn’t help but uncover the cage and take her back out.  She was sweet as pie for the rest of the day.
Here’s a picture of her standing on our deck (don’t worry, we just had her wings clipped so she couldn’t take off on a rampage through the neighborhood)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Introduction - Narrated by Adrienne

We’re dedicating this corner of the web to our 5 parrots, Hannibal, Neo, Andre, Taz and Angel.  I’m starting off the blog with a biography of Hannibal…

Hannibal  (Female Scarlet Macaw)
Hannibal is the oldest (approximately 80 in human years) and she’s one of the most unique birds we have ever known.   We don’t have a lot of information on her history but we do know she’s a rescue bird who spent a number of years confined to a kennel with dogs.  The owners kept her outside 24/7, 365 days a year.  It’s important to note that this kennel was located in the chilly state of Pennsylvania.  At one point she was attacked by a German Shepherd and has lost use of her right wing.  She’s completely blind in her left eye due to cataracts but manages to get around just fine.  To sum up her personality, we’d have to describe her as a dog/cat/human with wings.  She runs around on the floor and barks, she loves to sit beside me on the couch during the evenings and nudges my arm when she wants me to pet her, and she is so intelligent and so compassionate that I tend to forget she’s not a person.   She’s also the only bird who doesn’t talk but she manages to communicate through the use of physical expressions and various grunts and yells.  In a nutshell, we’re blessed to have her in our family.