11 October 2010

The New Sprite

My last post was largely about mimicry in our flock and wild birds, and this week's is a bit of a follow-up to that as the Flock Advisors have noticed Sprite picking up the habits of his much small roommate, Lennon.

Sprite and Lennon are currently shacked up with Ms. Flock Advisor. Their cages have been side-by-side since their move, and that marks a major shift for Sprite since coming to live with us in January. Previously, Sprite's cage was in our bedroom and the other birds, and Kenobi, were located out in the living room. Initially this scenario was our attempt to provide at least somewhat of a quarantine period during Sprite's first several weeks with us. Admittedly though, we got rather attached to Sprite's tendency to whisper to us from his blanket-covered cage in the morning when he detected our first stirrings. He would grind his beak and offer a very muffled "Hi." We would wheel him out to the living room on his perch stand to see and interact with the rest of the flock during the day, but we enjoyed the uniqueness of having Sprite in the bedroom where he could talk to us in the shower and offer his hushed greetings in the morning and evening.

Sprite is now picking up some of the vocalizations, namely whistles, of Lennon and adopting a few of his behaviors. Ms. Flock Advisor has noticed that Sprite now lowers his head dramatically, just as Lennon does, to request a neck scratch. I noticed several times that as we would walk by their cages this weekend both birds would have their heads lowered and the feathers on the back of their neck fluffed up and ready for a good scratch.

Sprite is also becoming rather adventurous in his new quarters. Lennon steps out onto the convenient porch that his open cage door creates and then leaps into the air to fly laps around the room each day without fail. Sprite had only flown a handful of times before rooming with Lennon, and that was usually as a result of being startled. His early flights were always less than graceful, and typically one-way trips with a hike back across the floor to his cage. Following Lennon's lead, though, Sprite took to the air twice on Sunday for a perfect loop around the room with a successful landing back on the top of his cage.His beating wings sound like a Chinook Helicopter, but he moves with incredible grace now. His Spread wings expose the red and blue on their undersides as he swoops past.

He also climbed down from the top of his open cage to go for a walk on his own a couple of times. The first time, I had been in the kitchen preparing some snacks to accompany an afternoon of football. Because Sprite had previously not been housed within eye-shot of the kitchen like the other birds, the goings on there are still new to him. The clanking of metals, running water, microwave beeps, and sizzles all stir his curiosity. I turned from stirring a bowl of seasoned pork to find Sprite waddling around my feet and looking up expectantly at me. Ms. Flock Advisor offered him a piece of Chicago hard roll, and off he went with it, stopping to take a bite here and there, around the room and eventually back to his cage.

Later he got a carrot to snack on.

While Sprite spent the day exploring and following the lead of his Cockatiel counterpart, Lennon was happy just to get a little downtime with Ms. Flock Advisor.

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