I do not claim to be a bird expert, and this story will confirm that.
Many years ago I took my yearly vacation to visit my brother and his wife in Florida. I was excited to see them and their beautiful Great Danes, Albert and Duchess. Upon arriving at their home, I noticed that a beautiful, colorful parrot had been added to their family.
Unfortunately for me, my brother and sister-in-law had to work the day of my arrival. We said our hellos and then our see-ya-laters.
I then sat down in the Lazy Boy to do a little relaxing since it was a long trip.
The next thing I knew, the parrot was flying around the room making a lot of funny noises. Now, I didn’t know parrots had such big wings. Startled (to put it mildly) I stood quickly.
The parrot came right back at me.
Then here it came again!
I took off running to the kitchen with the parrot hot on my tail.
The next thing I knew, it landed on my shoulder and began snapping at my ear. Not just nudging or nibbling. Snapping. This was very unpleasant, to say the least, since I really needed my ear. But, when I would raise my hand toward the bird trying to shoo it away, it would just snap at my finger.
I started to get a little fearful as it became increasingly clear that the bird had taken a liking to me and would be taking up permanent residence on my shoulder. It had no intentions of leaving.
Since Albert was a large and strong Great Dane, I decided to solicit this brave soul’s help. I slowly moved to the floor, laying on my stomach with that bird climbing down my back, slowly as well; almost as if it were mimicking my movements. I called Albert over thinking he would take care of this bird situation.
The bird shrieked then snapped and Albert took off running in the opposite direction.
Some time passed and my nerves were quite on edge not knowing what to do as I lay on the kitchen floor, bird on my back, petrified to move since it appeared that Mr. Parrot had a taste for human ear.
I scanned the room for signs of a work phone number posted anywhere, like the fridge or a corkboard usually used for pinning grocery lists. I figured if there was a close-by phone number, I could slowly crawl to the telephone just a few feet away to call my brother. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t see a number.
My shoulder was aching, my heart was pounding and over an hour had gone by with the bird still attached to me.
At this point, I was willing to try anything.
I went back to my telephone plan, but this time, I carefully reached up to a drawer where I knew a telephone book was kept. I crept to the phone on the wall that couple of feet away and called an exotic bird shop to see if they could give me any suggestions.
I was somewhat hysterical when I made the call.
The person on the other end of the line was of no help at all. In fact, they were more concerned that I was going to hurt the bird!
No way. Heck, I couldn’t figure out how to even get my hands on it without coming up with a missing finger or something. How could I hurt it? Clearly, I was the victim here! But, also clearly, I was going to have to get brave and handle this myself.
I came up with another idea.
I slowly and purposefully stood up. I marched to the linen closet, bird on my shoulder, and grabbed a towel. I slowly folded it over my lower arms and hands. Slowly but surely I raised my arms, threw the towel over the bird, made a quick move, and off the bird flew – but oh, was he mad!
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He began diving at me again.
I took off back to the kitchen and grabbed a frying pan off the stove for protection. I held it like a shield over my head with my eyes closed, but it quickly dawned on me that this might now be the best idea. I didn’t want to hurt the bird and if I just stood there, frozen, it would likely just land on the pan once it calmed down (or my shoulder again) – and well, how would it have looked to my brother if he came home and saw his parrot in a frying pan?
Finally, out of nowhere really, I guess the parrot got tired of playing his silly game and simply flew to his cage on his own. Cautiously I slammed the cage door shut.
When my brother got home that day, he really enjoyed the story. He thought it was hilarious!
I, however, made a stand and declared that either the parrot stays in the cage or I stay in a hotel.
Unfortunately, my sister-in-law came home from work late that day. The household was already asleep when she arrived and she was completely unaware of my day’s adventure or the ultimatum I had given my brother.
The next morning, I came out of my bedroom, once again greeted by a flying – no, divebombing parrot. Lucky for me, this time my sister-in-law grabbed the bird. Of course, it wasn’t lucky for her. He took a large bite out of her finger!
Putting him back in his cage with blood running down her finger, my sister-in-law had a few words for that parrot, “you are just like my ex-husband! Biting the hand of the person that feeds you! So guess what? I’m getting rid of you just like I did HIM!”
Now that is the end of my bird story. My sister-in-law’s finger healed, the parrot got a new home and my ear returned safely to the city of St. Louis.
I think it’s safe to say I won’t be getting a parrot of my own any time soon. I think I just prefer watching the robins lounging gently on their tree branches in my backyard. Yep.
Originally published October 26, 2023