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Bird entertainment doesn't have to be in the wild, it's an indoor sport, too

Becky Campbell • Oct 7, 2018 at 5:00 AM

If you remember my first “personal column” you might recall the chuckle many of you got with my squirrel problem, and many of you commiserated with me.

As with many hobbies, life got in the way of keeping the bird feeders filled this summer, so there haven’t been as many antics on the back deck. In the early spring, I was pretty consistent on keeping the feeders filled, but it fell by the wayside. I felt pretty bad when the birds were stopping by to grab a bite and there was nothing for them. I even felt bad for the squirrels, but in addition to life getting in the way, the price of filling numerous bird feeders took its toll on my wallet as well.

I know I could have purchased the real cheap stuff, but I didn’t want to just give them crap so I splurged on the nuts and berries and such. Of course, keeping the hummingbird feeders was a challenge, too. I was out back about a week ago and I swear there were six or seven buzzing around. I took the hint and made some food for them. Slowly, but surely those feeders have been drained and need filling again. 

I love to see them on the feeder and try to keep track as they fly to a nearby branch to watch for any danger before diving back in.

My love for outdoor birds has also turned inside as well. For five years, I’ve been the co-parent of a Senegal parrot. If you know exotic birds, you know that many are one-person birds. That’s exactly what Pip is —  a one-person bird, and his person is not me. I know this through experience.  I think he’s made me bleed at least four or five times. I’ve given up trying to make him like me.

But I was blessed earlier this year to become the “parent” of a bird that needed a new home after his owner passed away. This guy, an Alexandrine Parrot, took to me right away. Barney came with a multi-word vocabulary and — knock on wood — so far I haven’t heard him cuss. We also recently added an Umbrella Cockatoo named Sassy, and trust me, the name fits.

Sassy has quite the vocabulary as well, but the only real problem is she’s harder to understand.

They’re all quite funny. In addition to actual words, including their own names, they often make sounds like other animals. 

Barney meows like a cat. Sassy barks like a dog. Pip sneezes and coughs like me and the human he most loves. And they mimic many things we say to the dogs, particularly the phrase “come on,” or “come here.”

Until the last few years, I had never considered a bird to be a pet, but these three — except for Pip — are sweet and loving and seem to return the love and affection I shower onto them. I’ll get back into the swing of things with wild birds, too, because when they’re sitting on the deck rail tapping their foot, I know I’d better get them something to eat.

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