Saturday, September 22, 2007

Quicksilver Does Wisconsin, Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird, and NYC Audubon Migrating Bird Triumph

This is a bird weighing his options and testing the boundaries. Quicksilver is deciding whether or not it's worth it to ignore my warnings about not climbing any higher into the Pussywillow tree.
He's wondering if I really will take him back into the house if he goes for it.

Not so, the day before yesterday. This is a tired bird. This is a bird straight out of his travel box after spending numerous hours traveling to Wisconsin from New York City. This is a sleepy bird who's preening his crumpled feathers.

This is a bird who's had some sleep, though is still scoping out the new surroundings. Though you can tell from his face that he's been doing some thinking about the situation. He's sat nicely put while sitting in a tree, and upon asking to go outside again, sits nicely on the picnic table without attempting to take it apart.

He sits in the sun, on the glider, as well behaved and civilized as anyone could want.

Then he asks for another sojourn in the tree, but this time he clicks into "Jungle Bird of the Mangrove Forest", and inches up the branches the minute I glance away.
"Silver, don't do it. Don't climb the tree. You'll go in the house."
Then the decision is made, he's making a break for it. Fortunately the tall ladder isn't needed to retrieve him. The exact reason he isn't allowed to sit in "real" trees like Maples anymore.
He's allowed to sit in the kitchen window, look out at the trees, and chew a butter carton to bits, which he's doing happily when I leave the room. But when I get back he's on the sill, looking a little guilty in my opinion. I pretend not to notice and make a false exit.
Aha! He's after the shortening. Not only is he leaning towards it but I can see the white smears on his beak.
He scoots over, stretches, and pulls the can towards himself.
BUSTED! Obviously it's time for me to go to the petstore and get some parrot play areas. Translate that to parrot retaining equipment. New environments always instigate a new round of boundary setting. Silver goes into his cage for a nap and I head out.
Then it's time to make dinner. In the meantime the neighbor's grandson, Michael, comes over to meet Silver. Silver likes him. Silver runs him through the drill. "Want to go tree, want up, want shoulder, want apple, want treeeee" Michael obliges. Then while out in the tree, Silver is heading up it, Michael goes to pick him up and Silver gives him a sound pinch on the finger. He's testing. Back in the house Silver comes. Silver says,"I'm sorry." Michael accepts and goes home for dinner. I put ours on plates. The table is currently covered with papers so I deciderather than having to sort them again, we'll sit on the floor, look out the patio door, and eat.
Silver looks at his plate, looks at me, then looks out the patio screen and calls, "Dinner, dinner!", out the door. Is he inviting Michael to dinner?
Silver keeps calling, "Dinner, dinner!" Is he talking to someone in the park? Then I realize there are some birds eating seed on the patio. Silver says, "What's wrong? Are you cold? Dinner, dinner!"
I say, "Silver, come eat your dinner. Here. Look. Dinner." I point at his plate and the quick movement causes a flash of wings outside the door.
Silver goes into his agitated stance, his body bouncing up and down, wings slightly separated from his body. He's the model of birdie frustration-- "Dinner! Dinner! Are you cold? Want fresh water? What's wrong?"
Finally I get up and go look out the door.
It's Doorstep and Friend sitting on the bath. Doorstep is watching him fixedly. Silver seems to have been inviting them to dinner and is upset that they're not responding.
He's back doing it again. Originally he was the only bird at our house. When Tip and Edge, two young pigeons appeared out of the bathroom, where they'd been handfed for some weeks after being retrieved from an abandoned nest, Silver went over to their cage and attempted to have a conversation. He verbally invited them to share his treats, asked if they wanted fresh water, and tried various other conversational topic. They stood petrified and stared at him. He tried for several days to get them to talk, but finally gave up. It then appeared that he had decided they were a bit dim. Not understanding that they just didn't have the equipment to respond in English, beyond the fact that they were just fledglings. As other birds appeared in the household he'd try to converse, but finally gave up on it altogether.
Why had he suddenly started trying to talk to other birds again? Then it struck me. He's been watching all the Alex videos with me , some several times when I showed other people. Alex and company converse so why not the birds in Wisconsin. Perhaps here all birds talk.
How would he know without trying it?
He never did eat his dinner. Finally he went up into his window and looked out. Around 11pm he decided he was cold...
and decided to eat a piece of fried chicken.

Silver eyes his new play area. A place he knows he'll find himself, if he doesn't behave in his window.
It occurs to me, Silver is getting on towards adolescence now, a teenage parrot. Perhaps, not only does he need more places to play, he truly needs a place where he can talk to other birds who can talk back.
I'll have to work on that.
From Wisconsinite and fledgling birdwatcher, Marian Anderson, comes this link to a Yahoo News article reporting on the sudden appearance of a Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird in Beliot, Wisconsin, who's well out ot it's normal range of Mexico and at it's most northern, southern Texas. The only other officially recorded sighting was Concord, MA in 2000. The birders have now begun to migrate in mass to Beloit.
Rare hummingbird spotted in Wisconsin - Yahoo! News

And from boffo Link-finder Bill Walters, a New York Times link to a real success story. Kudos to The NYC Audubon Society for their meticulous work and The U.S. Postal Service for listening!

NEW YORK REGION September 22, 2007
By PETER DUFFY Changes to a Manhattan building that has long been a deathtrap for migrating birds have stemmed the carnage.
Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Quicksilver is with you!

Good company and fun challenges! ;o)


Karen Anne said...

How about some parakeet friends for Quicksilver?

Donegal Browne said...

Budgies, now that's an interesting thought. Does anyone know if they ever learn to speak in context?