14 March 2011

Cockatiel Cocktail, and other Concoctions

The animals kept our guests entertained this year again at our annual "Fifties Cocktail Party." Last year was our first themed party, and it was Sprite's first dose of human overload in the Feather Dorm. He lived in the bedroom then, and went to sleep early in the evening. This year he was the main attraction. He perched on his tree at the top of the stairs to give each entering guest a "Hi!" Then he held court with his human buddies.

Our menu, music, and dress for the party keeps with the theme. Ms. Flock Advisor put on her vintage-dress and cracked open her antique cookbook for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that requires no assistance from Betty Crocker. It's raw ingredients all the way. She also made a batch of Kraft macaroni and cheese which had been requested by several people who were also at last year's party. Relish trays were also laid out. I took on the cocktail menu in my best "Babalu" shirt. Champagne punch filled a giant bowl, and I dusted off the martini shaker. I also printed a menu of specialty cocktails named for their resemblance to the birds. A Mellow 'Prite was an apple martini with a golden delicious apple slice. A Singing Lennon was a gin and tonic with a cucumber garnish cut to resemble his raised crest. The rest of the menu is pictured at the bottom of this post.

Sprite manned (or, birded?) his perch and turned on the charm when he saw plates of macaroni and cheese coming out of the kitchen. His head stretched to passers-by until he found an accomplice. Our friend Diego stabbed one of the coated noodles and held it out. Sprite kindly ground his beak once and then took it from the fork. He savored every bite. When Diego then gave him two noodles at one time, Sprite set one down in his nearest food dish while he ate the other. Then he retrieved the second. Birds usually think nothing of grabbing one bite of a banana while the rest drops to the floor. Kenobi is always happy to Hoover the smorgasboard under their cages, but Sprite was keeping all of the Kraft to himself.

Macaroni and cheese is, of course, not part of a balanced diet for parrots. Like the cheese sandwiches Sprite is so fond of, it does sit near the top of the list in the "now and then" food group. An extra special treat was certainly in order for his willingness to interact nicely with a crowd of people. It was great to see Sprite as comfortable as he was, surrounded by people. He has come a long way from the shy bird that he once was. Last year he was exhausted early by the few people who leaned their heads into his room, but this year he stayed out to mingle until the last guest left.

Kenobi made his appearance for a little while. He likes to bounce around under everyone's feet, so he had to spend most of his time in a fenced off section of the room for his own safety. He got plenty of visitors, though, who were very happy to give his soft fur a pet. He also gnoshed on some carrots from the relish trays.

Most of our friends work with animals in one way or another, or are just plain animal lovers. We all love being around finned, furry, or feathered creatures as much as being around people (scaly critters, too). Our conversations always get back to animals we've worked with, or animals that live with us. We can't help it. Every animal has a personality that makes them special. Ms. Flock Advisor and I love getting to know our friends' pets as much as they seem to love hanging out with ours. We aren't "bird people," or "bunny people." Our friends aren't "dolphin people," or "fish people," or "snake people." We are people who love animals, all animals. Even if there is a certain species or family that we wouldn't particularly care to share a cab with, we are still curious about them and eager to understand a little more about them.

For the safety of our guests, Cher spent the evening perched on my shoulder.

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