Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Quicksilver Parrot, Tig the Dog and Squirrel the Cat Play the Great Tootsie Pop Game Part V

Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot had just walked under the bed.  There is a beat and suddenly he begins backing out again.

He isn't doing this because it is tight down there, as the bed is a vintage one.  Therefore the wooden sides below the mattress etc. are at least a foot and a half off the floor.
Silver backs up just enough to get a look at my eyes.  Yup.  I'm still watching him.

I'm not sure why he doesn't turn around under the bed and just poke his head out to look which would expose him less and be more stealthy.

Is it like some small children who go through a phase in which if they cover their eyes nobody else can see  them either?

Hmmm.  Probably not as if you are a bird flying out of danger from a dog and cat chase or running forward under the bed are better options than running backwards.  So even though it exposes him more this is the better option?
Silver tucks his head once again out of my view, does a turn under the bed...

And heads back toward the Tootsie Pop.   Currently no sounds are heard from Tig or Squirrel.  Pyewackit the older, more portly cat is likely hiding.  She can't stand all this foldarol.   It jangles her nerves. 

 I should have named her Aunt Pittypat.
Silver checks if the coast is clear.
Alert, Silver nabs the Tootsie Pop and scans the second parlor.
He starts chewing rapidly.  Look at the change in focus and intensity in his eyes.
Silver peels off more paper.

Tig walks through the second parlor.  Silver dumps the Tootsie Pop and prepares to make a run for the "cave" under the bed.
Tig keeps going.  Silver keeps chewing the paper off without holding the pop which gives him both feet immediately for use if he needs them.
Squirrel slinks through the second parlor stalking Tig.
The sound of dog FEET!!!
Silver trots for the "cave" under the bed.
Half of Silver disappears under the bed.  Look.  I think he is looking at me through the crevice between box springs and side rail.  Sneaky.

                    Silver pops out for a wider view.
Silver takes a couple of quick steps then stops dead.  Do you see what he sees?
 A yummy fleece sock  What could be more chewable?
The mammals thunder by again.  Sorry the flash failed so dark, but you can see the red of his tail poking out from under the bed.  Silver starts to come out.  I pick up the yummy sock.

Silver is so angry about the sock leaving that he bites the bottom of the box springs really really hard.
An angry parrot is often bent on revenge besides.  Silver heads for the pile of mail I'd been sorting when all this began with true vigor.

Silver then finds himself back on his cage.
And Squirrel bombs in to play with the new and improved Tootsie Pop toy.  It rolls much better without the wrapper.


You never know what is really happening until you pay attention...

More to come.
Donegal Browne

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Great Tootsie Pop Game Part IV

When last we saw Silver, he watchedTig the Dog  hightail it into the laundry room, with Squirrel the Cat not far behind.  He'd scoped out the door, looking through legs of furniture and then went back to the Tootsie Pop.

Suddenly Tig and Squirrel come racing out of the laundry room, cross the second parlor, return...

Concerned.  Silver dumps the Tootsie Pop, says "Go merde", takes two steps back and poops before turning to make his escape.

Okay, let me explain the Go Merde.  This is a two parter.

First off as most of you know who watch birds, a bird who feels threatened, will quickly defecate in the midst of rapidly flying away from danger.  It is thought that this automatic impulse makes them lighter and therefore quicker to take flight

Second when Silver was a few months old and I was potty training him, i.e. to defecate on command, I was working with P.D.Q. Bach, a classical music live stage show with orchestra.   Now actors (and trained biologists) like myself say Break a Leg before a show which means good luck which you can't say to people as that would be bad luck.  Musicians have the same problem but their solution is to say Merde, which translates to "sh*t in French, to each other rather than blowing everything by wishing Good Luck.

Therefore instead of teaching Silver to defecate by saying "Go poop" or "go potty" or "do your business" or other kinds of possible babyish cues, I thought it more discreet to say "Go merde".

Therefore Silver, when he feels jeopardized and feels the need to take flight or run, and of course defecate beforehand as that's wired in, he now says "Go merde" to himself. 

If you look carefully just to the right of his right primaries you will see a trace of green merde on the floor.

Having gone merde, Silver starts hotfooting it toward the bed in order to get under it before possibly being accidentally mowed down by marauding mammals.

The furry guys race toward the other side of the house.  Silver stops.  Listens.  And realizes he has sucker paper stuck to his beak.
Silver walks over to the tissue box and attempts to rub the stuck paper off.  No good.  

But as the box is right there...
He can't resist taking a bite out of it though he knows full well he isn't supposed to be doing it.

What?  I was just getting that sucker paper off my beak.

Right.  So why is there cardboard in your beak now?
What cardboard?  Just taking a walk. Ah.... 

Checking for the cat and dog?

Too be continued...

Donegal Browne

Trump Questionnaire Raises Concerns About Retaliation Against Energy Department Staff 


I read the NPR article and then I went to the ACLU site to sign a petition relating to the matter...I suddenly got a cold chill as I was about to sign and stopped.  A skit from Monty Python flickered through my head....one with the capper No one expects the Spanish Inquisition...   I got a grip, signed and then went to the following link...

 I felt ever so much better.

P.S. "...the National Park Service has reserved mostof D.C.’s iconic public spaces for the exclusive use of Trump’s Inaugural Committee, not just on Inauguration Day itself but for the weeks leading up to and following the ceremony. Protest groups will have no access to these spaces unless the Committee voluntarily gives up their permits, which they have no incentive to do."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Great Tootsie Pop Game Part III

After Quicksilver's rapid slide in his own version of a firefighter descent down the the leg of his cage, he still has his eye on the prize.

African Greys are the winners in age corrected to IQ tests in which they are tested to see which species can wait the longest to finally get whatever it is they want.

Silver carefully nabs the Tootsie Pop stick....never touching the wires.
Then Silver begins to chew the wrapper off.  Parrots have an overwhealming urge to get to "the heart" of whatever.  What we might take as curiousity?  Or something to do with getting the "skin"off a fruit in order to eat the sweet part?

Suddenly alert...he hears something.  The foot holding the Tootsie Pop goes down and his head goes up.  Pause.  Tig the Dog walks through the second parlor, the room Silver is facing, and continues into the laundry room for a drink of water.

Silver shifts into a better grip on the candy and begins chewing at the paper very, very, rapidly with sharp focus.
Silver goes into alert mode, listens and peers under the furniture between himself and the laundry room door.

Silver checks in on me with the kind of look in which he thinks he just may need back up at some point.

Squirrel the cat races through the second parlor and into the laundry room where Tig the dog was last seen.  

Back to the Tootsie Pop with internal focus.  See the difference in his eye focus?

Also look at how long his second "finger" has become in relation to the other middle front pointing finger.   It is almost as if one finger has stretched and he other contracted.  Though of course the exposed toe on the right is ordinarily shorter than the one on the left but ordinarily there isn't that much of a difference.
Does that look like a dinosaur foot or what?

Digression Alert!
Speaking of dinosaurs...

A Chinese paleontologist, Xing Lida, found the specimen of a tiny dinosaur's  feathered tail incased in amber at a market in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border.


Back to tangential dinosaur descendent  Quicksilver the Tootsie Pop unwrapping African Grey Parrot's feet.

AAaaaAa  okay in the it's always something department...blogger has decided to do only caps which makes me seem like i'm yelling...which even i can't stand...

we'll stop for the time being  
(yes the sign off was already typed in before the malady began....)
Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Great Tootsie Pop Game Part 2, Quicksilver Does his Fire Pole Trick

You know how firemen slide down a pole from the second floor of a firehouse to the ground to speed their trip to the truck when a fire call comes in?  That is exactly what Silver is doing. 

 Only it is the siren call of a Tootsie Pop in his case.
Silver's feet take the job of a firefighter's legs in griping the pole and his beak does the job of the hands in regulating the downward speed.
I'm not sure what the dynamic is that makes Silver turn as he slides down but it occurs each time he takes the ride.

Note the back leg of the cage to the left.  Silver always chooses the thinner of the two uprights to start his locamotion down .   I posit that it fits into his feet and beak better so he has better control of the ride.

But about halfway down he grips the larger of the two uprights.  Suggestions why?
And he reaches the floor.

And what is the elephant in the room of  these photographs?

The electrics.


Yes, unfortunately.

An aside....

My house was built  circa the 1850's.  And at some point whenever they electrified Brodhead....30's?  40's?  A small number of outlets were installed.  Then the house was upgraded in the 60's...before computers and other outlet hogs. Which means this house only has very few outlets compared to a house that was built last week.  Therefore the outlets in the first parlor where the cage is and the room that hosts the computer and other outlet hogs has a dearth of usable outlets.

Therefore the strip down there is plugged into an outlet in the second parlor which is just around the french door molding and is the place to plug in phones, a lamp, etc.

So far, as he watches eyes to make sure they aren't looking...Silver has chewed everything in my life....shoes, the tips on shoe strings, clothes (He loves to pop buttons off clothes...they fly through the air), books, the rubber tips off bobby pins, pencils, tubes of Carmex, tubes of lipstick, pads of paper, bags of rice, candles, curtains, curtain rods, boxed food, bags of cat chow, my check book, files....you name it, he's chewed it...he is 18 years old this month so he's had time to watch for inattention but he has never chewed an electrical cord that was plugged in.

Whether he is like some rabbits who only seem to chew electrical cords when power is not running through them, I don't know.

I did have a Fox Terrior once, who bit through a live cord which blew out the whole house.  Thorin stood there a bit stunned with the cord in his mouth, but being a Fox Terrior he was fine. 

I admit Silver did chew a phone charger cord once but it wasn't plugged in.  Therefore it appears he might somehow know the difference.

But I don't depend on that.  If unaccompanied, or not in his cage to sleep,  he isn't left to his own devices in the first parlor.

Whew!  Back to our saga....

And Silver still has his eye on the prize.


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Squirrel the Cat, Quicksilver the Grey Parrot, and Tig the Basinji Play the Great Tootsie Pop Game!

Well if you asked me,  I'd probably have to say that the seed of the Grand Tootsie Pop Game had something to do with the fact that Squirrel the Cat was bored.

He'd waited patiently at the appropriate window until 1am for a opossum to appear but none had.

Therefore he made his way to the kitchen in secret, jumped up onto the counter in the dark, and looked out the window.  

Still nothing.

Crapola! (A translation of a cat expletive.)

Well, while up on the counter, he thought, one might as well check for things of interest. 

Ah ha!  A bowl of Tootsie Pops.  

Now Squirrel doesn't eat Tootsie Pops.  

Oh dear me, NO!

He plays with Tootsie Pops.

Tink!  A Tootsie Pop hits the kitchen linoleum and the game's afoot.
Tink....whizzzz...tink, tink, WHIZZZZ...spin!

Through the kitchen, through the dining room... tink, tink, whizzzz...through the second parlor, and into the first parlor office and bedroom.
 Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot looks at Squirrel with the Tootsie Pop and then looks at me.  He doesn't want me to see the game in play in front of his cage.  I might retrieve the Tootsie Pop...and what fun would that be?
Squirrel keeps bating the pop and biting the stick.
Yum.  Strawberry watermelon...not bad.
Note Silver his climbed further down the cage and is pointedly focussed on Squirrel...and the pop.
Missed the shot but seconds before Squirrel leapt up, hit a file of papers on the little table, they spewed onto the floor but he never lost his sucker focus.
And Silver is getting closer...
...leans in....
Squirrel nabs the stick and lifts it.  He is no longer paying one bit of attention to Silver.
Squirrel suddenly realizes that he has a very sharp beaked parrot, looking menacingly, over his head. 


Squirrel retreats.
Silver checks.  Yup, the Tootsie Pop is still there.
Silver readjusts his position.
He checks in on me to make sure I'm not going to interfere.

Digression Alert....
Note how much dust is on the cage cover, the cage, and all over the room for that matter...and it takes little time for it to happen.  That isn't dust dust, that is parrot dust.  Grey's don't have an oil gland to keep their feathers in good order, their conditioning product is the creation of "dust" by their feathers to keep them in condition.  

One of the reasons people who think they want an African Grey Parrot suddenly decide after a bit that they are "too messy" and end up getting rid of them. 

 Something that is emotionally terrible for the parrot who has bonded with the family and who suddenly find that their flock has "disappeared".  They mourn and sometimes never really get over it.

Silver is not going to have that problem no matter what.  If I keel over before he does, daughter Sam is first in line, next up a grandson....

That said, off the soap box, back to the Tootsie Pop saga!
Silver makes the corner.
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4  Silver gets ready to go into his fireman's pole slide...