15 January 2010

A Feather in Time

Parrots are time capsules. Their incredible capacity to remember combines, in some species, with an ability to precisely mimic the sounds in their environment. A parrot will often learn a word like "hello" in several different voices. The bird might pick up several words or phrases from a child, locking the youthful voice in the home even as the kid ages and moves out. Parrots, through this time capsule quality, can also be the ultimate memorial to their passed owners. The birds will often outlive their human counterparts. For the rest of Polly's life, however, the late human will still have their voice heard.

In the Feather Dorm, Coconut has been our little time capsule for quite some time. He still carries on two sided budgie conversations, picking up the slack for his former cage mate Mango who died several years back. He also lets loose with a lovebird shriek from time to time that he stored in his little mind when Madison was still with us. Madison carried on epic screaming matches with Cher back in the day, and Coconut's impression is a stark reminder of why no new lovebirds/conures will be brought into the Dorm.

With his exceptional ability as an Amazon to mimic, Sprite has already demonstrated himself to us as a feathered time capsule. He divulges new phrases and words everyday. He has several different "voices" that he entertains us with. One thing that we learned from him is that he did indeed experience some step up training in the past. As soon as we began moving the step up stick toward his feet, he began saying "step up", and "good boy". He is doing very well with his training so far. After a session the other night with Ms. Flock Advisor, she had to leave for the evening. Sprite kept right on with the routine after she left. He went through the entire session in her voice. I was in the other room and it sounded like a recording. "Hiii Sprite. Wanna step up? Step up. Step up. Goood Boy. Wanna step up here? Good Boy." We are going to have fun with this!

On a somewhat related note, I am no longer using the beep function on my alarm clock, only the radio. I'm also trying to limit the usage of the microwave timer, and make sure that the batteries in the fire alarm never get low. With his prowess for mimicking sounds, we must avoid at all costs the chance of hearing a "beep beep beep" for the next 60 years. No doubt it would be his favorite sound.

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