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, 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, 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...


Monday, December 05, 2016

Butch and Pinkie the Opossums Wash Their Faces...and a Look at That Opposable Back Toe!

As it turns out opossums are quite into tidying up.   Particularly after eating anything in which their "hands" were involved  or if their face might have gotten icky. 

Note how when Pinky is washing her palms/pads and outside fingers she has placed her inside finger against her tongue so it gets a bit of a scrub on the in and out.

I also find opossum teeth fascinating.  Just look at the variation.

Her tongue is quite flexible and mobile...and quite wet.  Here it is bending backwards onto the bottom pads and the licking is rapid.

Once her paws are reasonably clean and wet, Pinky scrubs them quite rapidly over her muzzle.

Then she licks her paws clean again, licks her muzzle and does another scrub.

Butch goes through somewhat the same procedure but doesn't tip his body back as far on his hind legs.

He also does both front paws and then goes for his muzzle.  He worked at it for awhile as he'd just devoured a piece of sugary apple pie. Then he too scrubbed his muzzle. 

  He evidentally got quite full as he left a piece of crust, right.  Crust being an Opossum

If eating only sunflower seeds neither Pinky or Butch bothered with a scrub before leaving.
Here is Pinky letting herself down off coal chute cover.  

Look at that tail.
Opossum tails are also fascinating.  As we know they are prehensile but not in the curly active way that say some monkey tails behave.  They are odd... (I know what do I want....THIS IS A OPOSSUM)...heavy looking, awkward, and stiffish until suddenly they start picking things up or using them to climb.  Then their tail suddenly becomes more alive and no longer looks so awkward and carrot-ish.
And there it is!  On the right of her foot-the opposible toe. 

 Also strange looking. 

 Currently Pinky is gripping the edge of  coal shoot cover with some of her front toes and using the other two toes for balance.  Note how the opposible toe is turned  up toward her body.  If she were just walking that toe would tend to trail out behind her foot a bit

This makes oppossum tracks look a bit strange but notable if you are tracking.

Speaking of tracking, neither Pinky nor Butch have returned to the feeding station for some time or at least I've not found a trace of them.

Though perhaps I need to put something more tempting out for them.

Today it snowed several inches.  Perhaps sunflower seeds and various legumes and a variety of snack food just aren't making it anymore.

I do have to admit that the female Crows loved the eggshells and the Blue Jays are mad for stale Fritos though.

Yes, it is time to put out bigger opossum temptations...peanut butter and peaches in heavy syrup.

And soon the hawks may be stalking the feeders besides.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne