Friday, June 24, 2011

Baked Birds

Shakira & Vinnie

The Prince announced, the other night, that his recent rusty cough might be due to some parakeet pestilence.

"They carry disease," he hacked. Of course, he was referring to our pair of feral birds, who he believes dislike him. This is why I think they stand (or perch) accused.

I suggested that we should therefore eat them and if the cough clears, we'll get two more. On the plus side, next time we will know better than to let them loose, to foul the little greenhouse with seed husks and incredibly sticky shit.

On the minus side, they'd be a mere forespice, a lagniappe--a tidbit--as there appears to be little more to them but feathered bones.

This is particularly true of Vinnie, who manages to squeeze through the tiniest gaps, like a rat; including the bars of their antique cage, a Christmas gift that had no bird in mind. It seemed a pretty thing for a trailing plant, or perhaps a fern. Bu then we had this bright idea...and then the next idea, to free them.

(This was, I should note, in part the fault of Mr Hartke-Webbird, who told me that their pair -- Alex and Omega -- fly free and never crap on anything, they excrete as they eat, he explained. And so I assumed that if I kept the food in the cage it would be delightful to set them free--winging about the gardenias and geraniums as I puttered or settled in to read . Month's later, Mrs Hartke-Webbird laughed and said "tosh!" or word to that effect. "We never let them out." So much for that)

Vinnie Looking Unusually Good
Now, if I can manage to lure Vinnie into the cage she refuses to stay. She'll pace about, examining the gaps until she finds her sweet spot. Then she'll grab a bar with her horny beak and haul her wriggling self through. It's really a miraculous thing to see. 

I think that the replacement birds (baby has suggested one be called Kumquat, I'm thinking of Prune for the other) should have a fine big cage like the one I saw at PetSmart/Co the other day when I was buying a couple of dozen feeder fish for the pond and ultimately the raccoon (13 cents each--used to be 10. Inflation is everywhere).  Very simple and elegant it was, black metal and perhaps five feet tall -- plenty big for most budgie pairs. In fact, most budgie pairs would be delighted to have such spacious quarters.  It would look handsome in a corner of the greenhouse, which has a black and white checkerboard floor, white walls and ceiling.

How clean it would all be, unlike yesterday when I looked out to see Vinnie and Shakira feasting on a pile of bird seed in the middle of the floor.  She'd opened the ten pound sack I'd just bought and set up a buffet.

Later I noticed that I had inadvertently swiveled the feeder tube so they were out of food; she's clever and resourceful that bird.  Though ugly, as I've said before, as well as mean-tempered, demanding, and prone to biting.

She's also destructive. Here she is demolishing the little wooden house we bought at a flea market, note the straggly stuff around the edges of the urn, once a full and lovely I-don't remember-what:

Shakira will at least allow let me pet him late at night, when he's half asleep and perched on the mangy palm they call bed. He is otherwise no account, existing in a chronic state of lust and sexual frustration.

He wakes at six to begin a loud, day-long commentary on his disappointment with Vinnie and, I suppose, me. Though what more I could do for them I don't know...despite myself, I just bought them a horrendously tacky pink plastic ladder with a mirror on top and sliding multi-colored beads.

Meanwhile, The Prince has recovered. 

Did you know that some parakeets have the intelligence of a two year old? I read this somewhere on the web.

Did you know that some parakeets can live 15 years? Or more?

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