Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Pale Male, Plus Quicksiver the African Grey Parrot and the Clicker/Electronic Remote Experiment. Sigh.

Photo courtesy of
A Blue Jay attempts to hassle Pale Male while he deals with dinner. 

Word on the street is that nest tending, switches, and other behavior of this time in the hawk curve of behavior is going swimmingly at 927 Fifth Avenue.  Soon we begin to watch for those looks into the bowl by the parents for the first signs of piping. 

Okay I admit it.  It really is all my fault.

For those of you who don't know parrots, their chewing habits are not like dogs.  If you want a dog not to chew, say a shoe, you scold the dog for chewing shoes, right?

You can scold a parrot all you want about chewing "shoes" it won't make one bit of difference to their shoe chewing behavior. 

Diversion Alert..Speaking of shoe chewing, infuriatingly Silver only chews one of a pair to smithereens, usually the left one...why?  You'd have to ask him.  He then chooses one of a different model.

Now back to the original chewing topic.

With parrots it is just the opposite, they have to get bored with chewing a particular category of  object before they will stop.  For example, I have a penchant for fanny packs.  

Diversion Alert 2- Yes I know fanny packs are out of style but who wants to carry a purse in the field?  And there are all those little things like pens and keys one doesn't want to have to dig around for... 

Silver also had a penchant for fanny packs; he loved to chew the leather parts to bits.  Therefore to keep him from chewing the ones I was using I would give him one that was worn out.  He'd chew it and have a great time.  And as he is a parrot, he eventually got bored with chewing fanny packs and therefore no longer chewed the ones I was using.  

Great, right? 

Well the theory was valid.  But I forgot an important variable.

True he no longer chews my fanny pack. Ta da!

 Now he just unzips the zipper and flings the contents out as rapidly as possible to make sure he will be choosing what he wants to chew most from the full selection inside.

Ordinarily I catch him before he gets too far, but the other day I came in and he was chewing a stick of Big Red chewing gum
in the middle of the bed.  

I did learn something secondary though.  He likes sticks of Big Red better than the mint kind that comes in the little plastic packets which were also part of the bed buffet.

That's the preamble to today's experiment.  Silver LOVES to wait for someone to abandon a remote for an electronic device in an accessible spot and then leave the room.  He immediately makes for it and begins popping the buttons off the "clicker".  This is a giant drag as you might imagine. And you can't just pop them back on.  In emergencies tape will work if you diddle with the connection height long enough. And it isn't always that easy to find a replacement clicker, to say nothing of the economics involved.

Therefore when I was at an auction the other day and a patron was throwing away a half dozen clickers from a miscellaneous box of stuff they'd bought for other contents that were in the box,  I asked if I might have the clickers they were throwing away.  "Sure, they're yours"!

I had a plan.

I went home took out the batteries and scrubbed the clickers with a brush, hot water, and detergent.  Rinsed carefully and dried.

Okay, maybe, just maybe I can bore him out of button popping by a continuing supply of buttons to pop.

I'd just set up his second play stand but hadn't decided where to put it yet so it was sitting next to the first on which Silver was
sitting.  I nonchalantly laid the clicker on the second play stand and went on my way.  

I looked back.  Silver was looking at the clicker as if it were an alien being.  Oh dear. either he's wondering what the catch is or as it isn't absolutely identical to one I've had before he's going to have to get used to it before he gets to button popping.  

I kept checking in on it periodically as it sits in a spot which one passes frequently while going through the house  but after three days of no action  I began to forget checking as frequently as I might so started setting a timer at thirty minute intervals....

Yes, Quicksilver dismantled the entire clicker, which he had never done before in less than 30 minutes and he's not the least bit sorry.  

Look at his expression.

And as who knows what bad trace things might have been inside, good thing he has a dry mouth....the clicker experiment is a dead in the water failure and was immediately suspended.


Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

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