The Birds

For those of you who, like Ray, have been wondering about all the ruckus in the background of some of my wargaming videos.  Meet the flock:

We have to start with my best girl, Biscotti. She’s an African Gray and a total sweetheart.

The parrots would have run us thousands of dollars, but we work with a rescue organization who takes them in from families that discovered they didn’t have room for the birds any more.  They are a bigger commitment than dogs in many ways, and a lot of people find out too late that they aren’t a good match.  We don’t judge them – we just want to find the right home.  So we foster birds that have been surrendered from time to time.  Or at least we did until we ran out of room!  What you see here are the birds that we couldn’t bear to part with.  For all the trouble and aggravation they cause, particularly those with health issues, they are a lot of fun and they help remind us of our obligations to be good stewards of God’s creatures.

My wife’s gray, Bones, is more high maintenance and mostly quiet, but when he’s not – he’s really not quiet.

Our birds chirp, whistle, and squawk, mostly when they want attention, but don’t have huge vocabularies.  These particular breeds can talk, and with a lot of coaxing and coaching and training can speak volumes.  We’re busy enough and comfortable enough with the birds not to press them, though.  They make enough noise without being encouraged.

Petrie is a bit of a rescue. A green eclectus, he is the old man of the flock, and he hates feet. We don’t let him walk around because he goes after toes.
Rain is a green wing macaw, and he doesn’t talk much. He is a rescue bird, blind as a bat, and pretty chill for a macaw.

If you think you might like to give parrots a shot, you don’t have to break the bank either.  Look around for a rescue organization in your region – most bigger cities will have a club or two – and let them know you would be willing to foster a bird for a while.  Most places have more birds than volunteers and would be glad of the help.  This is a great, no commitment, way to find out if you’ve got room in your life for clever and colorful birds.  They usually ask for a nominal donation if you want to become a permanent owner, but nothing like what you’d pay a licensed breeder.

My youngest daughter’s bird is a simple parakeet. Young and friendly, he will sit on your finger, but is very territorial. He’s also the quietest of the bunch.

We also have a nice little backyard coop and let these ladies run around for a few hours each day.  They turn bugs into food and keep the backyard well fertilized.  They also keep us in eggs.  With the price of chicken feed, it would be cheaper to just buy eggs at the current artificially inflated prices than it is to keep these ladies fed even with plenty of backyard time.  That said, they serve other purposes.  We don’t have to worry about egg shortages.  Passing the extra eggs along to neighbors helps keep the neighborhood small.  They keep us safe from scorpions and the big bitey centipedes.  And there is just something soothing about all their little chicken noises floating in from the backyard.  Each one has her own personality, and it can be fun to just watch them zoom around and interact with each other in odd quiet moments of the day.

Do these ladies count? Nine eggers with their protector, Haggrid. 


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