Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Smart as Hell

Why am I writing about Parrots?  Why not?  What choice do I have, really, when I walk up to Peet's to get coffee and there is a guy reading the newspaper with 3 parrots resting on the bench?  African gray parrots, to be precise.

I'm not one to pass up on an opportunity such as this that presents itself randomly.  I always keep a bare minimum of kit in the vehicle with me for these type of occasions.  I would have preferred to have the birds in a studio with a little more control, but you take what you can get.

The guy (I didn't even get his name) told me he rescued these birds from various institutions, and one of them is 33 (they all look the same to me, I can't tell).  Often these rescue birds have been mistreated and they tend to be self mutilators.  You can generally notice it in the way they incessantly pick at their breast feathers or on their back like the one above.

 In general, they didn't seem to mind me taking their photos and a lot of times seemed to pose just a bit.

I told the one how pretty he/she (shim?) was and he blushed, cocked his head and said thank you.

I had heard they were very smart and very trainable birds, so I said hey Billy (I gave them my own names.  They're used to it, they've had multiple owners), lift your leg like you're taking a dump, then flap your wings.

Without hesitation, he responded and performed the tasks in the order I asked him to do them.  His friend in the background clearly enjoyed the performance as well.

 "Hey Billy", I said, "That's amazing, how did you learn that?"

He looked me straight in the eye and said, "None of your fu***ng business".

I laughed, that's just what I would say, I thought to myself.

"The detail in your feathers and on your beak is gorgeous" I told him.

He blushed again and said, "Thank You".

He gave me one last look, thanked me for stopping by, and asked me to pass on the word about African Gray Parrots.

"I will", I told him.

And with that, the guy packed up his birds and took off.

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