Monday, October 9, 2006

Adoption numéro deux...

Today we brought home a seven-month-old-baby from West Africa.
We figured Paquito, our five-and-a-half-month-old Peruvian,
could use some company during the day when we're not at home.

So we adopted Tango, a Senegal parrot.

Paquito, our parrotlet, who is sitting on my shoulder as I type this, doesn't seem to mind the avian addition to the apartment. Of course, he hasn't yet seen the 'other' bird directly yet; Tango's in semi-quarantine in the other room for a week...

I guess this means my wife and I are (weird?) bird people now, no?
While living in Nicaragua, we saw so many domesticated birds: the requisite chickens (for eating and fighting)...turkeys...even toucans sometimes! (They like to eat papaya.) Mostly, though, we got acquainted with little green conure parrots, such as "Pinky" who spent some of his time in an recycled fan-shell in a friend's backyard:

(Desgraciadamente, Pinky didn't live too long after this photo...a gato got to him...)

After making friends with a few of these feathered creatures, we decided that when we got back up to
Gringolandia, we would get a bird. So, in August, a couple of weeks after moving into our apartment, we went to the parrot store just down the hill from us...and we brought home Paquito:

He is a funny little bird--a quiet little acrobat, just under five inches long. He is still discovering his pea-sized voice. Speaking of peas, he likes to eat them--just the soft inside part; the outside shell gets tossed out of his dish.

I'd mentioned to one of my classes that I have a bird...
...and then last week one of my students came up to me, saying that a family friend was needing to find a 'good home to adopt' their Senegal parrot that they can no longer care for. I thought--aww, the student thinks that I'm 'worthy,' that my wife and I would be a 'good bird home.' Then I thought, "hey--what's wrong with this bird so that they want to get rid of it? Is it a screamer? a half-nude feather-plucker?"

So I called the family...drove by on the way home from work last Friday...learned he hasn't been abused and doesn't have weird ticks...took Sara to meet 'Tango' on Saturday...then we returned this morning to see him one last time and then bring him home.
And here he is:
After having gotten used to Paquito's size, Tango seemed like a pterodactyl (nine inches long!)at first...but he's adjusting well. He can look out the window at the starlings and jays that visit our balcony. We took careful notes from his first owner about what/ when to feed him. (Apples and scrambled eggs in the evening; he likes a red Fruit-loop now and then, but just flings around banana pieces...) His nascent vocabulary already includes 'hello' and 'pretty'...and I hope to teach him some vocabulaire français by next spring so I can take him into class and have fun with the students...

Sara and I are excited to have a full-fledged PARROT now...don't worry, we're not going to neglect 'the little guy'...

But I should put Paquito away now. (He's left quite a few 'gifts' on my shoulders in the past few cannot have a phobia of feces and have a pet bird! But having a towel on one's shoulders helps.)
The whistling from the other room indicates that I need to go spend some out-of-cage-time with le perroquet africain...

Who trains who, eh?


  1. I love him!!!!

    I like that you guys have become "bird people." Keep the pictures and stories coming :)

  2. sssssshhhh, don't tell lori that there is a second winged wild beast in your home. ;-)

    he's very cute. cool that he can learn words!

  3. I wonder how the birds would react if we had a private screening of Hitchcock's film? might they freak out as much as Lori? We'll keep Lori safely away should she come over...

  4. ahh...forgot to say that Tango is already saying 'hello'! last night we tried to teach him 'café'...he's staring at me with his hawk-head as I type this...maybe he'll learn to imitate the clicking of the keyboard.

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