Thursday, October 7, 2010

Squirt - my little buddy!

Since living in Australia, I have always been fascinated by all of the wildlife, including the fantastic colours of the birdlife here.  I fell in love with the parrots, and finally after time I became the proud owner (if one can ever 'own' a parrot) - more like inviting them into your life to share and learn.

7 Years ago, on our wedding anniversary, my local pet shop phoned me to say that my baby lorrikeet was ready to take home---she was mature enough to feed and respond to activity--(and to squawk and to make messes--which she freely showed us!)  Hence her name--Squirt!

She lives in a large indoor aviary in our central hallway, a somewhat long and spacious area with lots of light and plants.  Her 'home' is in the corner, next to the laundry room. so I talk with her a lot as the day progresses.

She is developing a vocabulary, and what fascinates me is that she often knows just when to use each phrase.  In the morning ,when I pull her large pink sheet away from the front of her aviary, (as I 'tuck' her in each night to keep the hallway lights away from her), she greets me with "Wake up!" We then start our day with "Hello Squirt!"  (She always refers to herself in 3rd person). Sometimes I will also get the 'wolf whistle' which we give back to each other! Then, depending upon her mood, we go through: "Wake up Squirt", "Strap!  Come on, Strap!" or "Hello!" in various intonations--could be just the basic Hello, or one of surprise, or happiness.  If she likes her new food varieties that I put in her dishes she'll yell out: "Hello!" in a very drawn out way --sort of like--Hello--what is this we have today!  If she's very excited about her food--(she loves sunflower seeds and also oranges and apples)--she'll sing out: "Like it!"

It's been a journey--and while the rest of the family merely tolerate her--I am having a lot of fun.  She is definitely my bird--she will bite and try to nip at people if she doesn't know them and they try to invade her space, and occasionally she has been known to bite both Chris and Maddie---but she is gentle with me.  On the odd occasion that she has tried to nip at me--I take my index finger and tap her top beak, and tell her "No!"  It seems to work

She has some small. colourful, plastic balls which lay on the floor of her aviary--at times I will sit and play with her.  I open the aviary door, and toss the balls to her, or put a ball into her outstretched claw--she will climb to the top of her area, sit on a perch and throw the ball back at me--sort of like fetch - only in reverse -  I think I am the fetcher!

She is always happy to see me, but hates it when I take clothes out of the washing machine to hang on the clothesline.  She squawks at me the whole time, then is contentedly quiet again once I come back into the hallway from the laundry deck. As I mentioned earlier, the upper level hallway where her aviary is situated is long and wide, and houses many plants due to the wonderful sunlight which fills that area each day.  Apparently these plants belong to Squirt, which she is very protective of, and she squawks her angry yell at me each time I touch a plant or do any clearing of plant debris or cleaning of them.  This is our one big contention--she swears they are in her territory and so are her domain, and I keep telling her that they are in my hallway and my domain--we have just agreed to disagree--it's just one of those things!  We all just have to put up with her attitude when it comes to anything in that area.

Sometimes when she is especially noisy or naughty I have to put her in time-out.  I pull her pink sheet down over he aviary and tell her that I will open it again when she has settled down.  Yesterday, I noticed that I had forgotten to release her sheet from her night-time tuck in, until about 2:00 pm. I just felt terrible. When I had discovered this, I opened up her aviary immediately and apologised to her--her response: "Hello Squirt! " Then a dance as I filled her water dish.  Wow!

She also loves cuddles--if I ask her if she wants a cuddle, she will jump up onto her main perch, and turn her back to me, with her head down--this is to let me know that she would love a cuddle.  I rub her tummy gently, and stroke her head and back. She just stretches and if a bird could purr--that is what she does.  She's a good friend, who I think will live with us for many years--I hope so!

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