How To Keep A Parrot Happy – Don’t Blink

I have had Oscar, my Orange Wing Amazon parrot since 1986.  It’s entirely possible that he will outlive me.

That is common with the midsized and larger parrots, they have long lives, and there was a Yellow Naped Amazon who lived in Homer Alaska to the ripe old age of 106.

Yeah, Alaska.  Of All Places.

You end up having to find coping strategies with them.  You see, it’s not like with a dog.  Dogs bond in a pack mentality, friends is a good way to describe it.  You work together as a team, even if that work is sitting on your lap and keeping you comfortable.   They do jobs, they give you companionship, they give you help in many different ways, and they give you love.  I have even heard a pretty good discussion as to how the Human Race would not have survived had it not been for the assistance of the dog.

But Parrots?  Well they’re a very strange creature in their own right. 

You see where Dogs see you as a co-worker, Parrots see you as a mate.

Yes, for 29 years I have had a small green mate in my house.  It takes getting used to. 

There are better bonded parrots.  I had a Goffin’s Cockatoo named Sonny who was so closely bonded to me that he would “get loud” until I opened the cage, and no matter where I was in the apartment, he would then hunt me down so that he could be near.  Then he would act silly.  Backflips, barking, chattering, and the like.

Squeak, my Grey Cheeked Parakeet used to ride all over Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia inside my shirt.  I would walk into shops, he would climb out just enough to see where he was, then if he liked the people there, he would climb out to say hello. 

But Oscar is somewhere in between indifference and bonding.  He is named Oscar because he’s a bit of a

grouch.  It’s a coincidence that he’s green like the Sesame Street character and that was what got me calling him that. 

He will interact with you but only on his terms.  I am his favorite person, which is to say he won’t shred me to pieces with that beak of his all of the time.  I can get him to go back into his cage when I say “Go Home”, and he shows his appreciation by talking to me.

At sounds louder than a Jet Engine at 3 in the Morning.

So I have learned.  He is an intelligent creature and requires mental stimulation.  If he doesn’t get it, he makes his own, learning how to bounce sounds off of walls for echo location, especially if those walls are three blocks away.

At least that is what I think he’s trying to do.  I can’t fathom why else 130 db are necessary other than to gauge distance.

But there his cage sits on the room divider.  I keep oddball things there to keep him from eating the room divider because anything that is wood will be chewed.  We would like to keep the divider in one piece since we are somewhat attached to the architectural element of it.

I found a long time ago that he will go quiet if I put toys on top of the cage.  Beach Balls are the best since they are light and too large for him to get his beak around.  They also won’t destroy anything when they are ejected in his favorite game of “Make the Human Fetch”.  Anything left on the room divider is fair game to be ejected, to the floor, post haste.

Don’t leave anything “food related” on there because he does want to sample.  Usually at 130 db. 

Yes, the word Hello gets used loudly and often since he has figured out that I pay attention to it.  In his little world, Hello really means “I Want”.

I want that food you have.

I want your attention.
I want a shower in the rain.
I want it NOW.

It’s like living with a two year old version of Verucca Salt from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movies. 

At 130 db.  A pain inducing one hundred and thirty decibels.

So if you see me covered in rain, parrot feathers, some scattered food, and a couple of scratches on my arms, it’s a normal day in the life of a parrot owner.  Just don’t blink.  He’ll be into something else real soon.

Teaching The Dog To Beg For More Breakfast

“He knows who to go to, you’re the soft touch in this house!”

Yes, I am.  Everyone in this house begs food from me.

Oscar, my orange wing parrot, knows that if he says “Hello?” enough, I’ll probably cave and give him a sample.  Mango Season is starting, the neighbor’s Hagen Mango tree is beginning to drop fruit.  They gave me permission years back to hit the tree for my Mango Needs.  It helps the people who live there because nobody wants a two pound fruit falling from 30 feet up smacking into their car.

It will leave a dent.

I must eat about 200 pounds of Mangos each year.   Strictly speaking I also pass them out to friends I know who enjoy them, and I make jelly which uses up a lot of them.   Mango puree with a bit of lemon is wonderful to bake chicken in, and the puree itself is tasty.  Recipes use up a lot of Mango in sauces.

Oscar knows that and he starts chattering, and moving to the end of the cage nearest me when he sees me making up my breakfast bowl of Mango Chunks and Yogurt.

I really should just add that to the blender and make a Mango Lassi, but this is easier.

What shouldn’t have surprised me was when Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM), began to beg for it as well.

I was having a bit of an Indian themed breakfast that morning.  A bowl of cereal was long forgotten as I grabbed the egg, mayo, and Curry Powder from the fridge.  Making a Curried Egg Salad Sandwich was easy, mash it all up in the cereal bowl, spread on the toasted English Muffin, and enjoy.  Just a dusting of Curry Powder on top.

Rack was there, boring holes into me with twin brown laser beamed eyes.

*Sigh* Rack, at least wait for me to get the stuff finished before you glue yourself to my side.

The toaster announced it was finished with a thump and I made my sandwich.  Surprisingly good this morning.  Time to add mayo to the shopping list.

That left me with a bit of curried egg at the bottom of the bowl.  I could rinse that out in the sink…

Nope.  Ok, Boy, here you go!

He proceeded to try to lick the white off the glass.

Some dogs are truly aggressive with begging.  Pawing your leg or arm.  Barking incessantly like Oscar and his “Hello” routine.  Other behaviors which are truly unacceptable.

Rack is like Lettie was.  Sit down nearby, in sight, and stare holes through you.  If he hears the dreaded “Not For Dogs!” he heads out to the other room, mopes, and stares from a distance.  I guess that’s the McNab Dog Way.

Otherwise, when I finish, I tend to leave a little morsel in the bottom of the bowl for him.  I do this because his stomach was quite unsettled when he was a puppy.  When we got him, he was severely underweight due to worms, stress, and the trauma of being an Owner-Surrender.  He simply would eat only under certain conditions, and certain foods only.

If I ever met the guy who had Rack before, trust me, I’d have a “conversation” with that man.

Two courses are done.  Final course.  This was what got Oscar talking at me.  You simply can not out-shout a parrot.  No way, No how.

I began to slice some mango chunks into the orange bowl.  Rack came back sniffing.  The first time I gave him a mango chunk he walked away, I thought I was safe.

That mango was a bit under ripe.  A little sour, a little on the Yellow side instead of the bright orange I was hoping for.  I sliced the flesh away from the skin with the butter knife and piped up:  “Oscar?  Mango?”.

“HELLO!”  “HA HA HA HA!”  “HELLO!”

When he learns how to say Mango, I am truly in trouble!

Rack feigned studied indifference.  I padded across to the living room, dropped a mango skin with a bit of sweet and sour yellow Mango flesh still attached.  May as well give him the bits I don’t like.  He will work on that fruit, skin and all, through the day.  I gave him something to keep him busy.

All the gloves were off right about now.  Rack realized I was giving Oscar Mango so he wanted some too.  I heard a deep humming and realized that Rack was glowing with antici… pation!

I filled the bowl with 8 ounces of mango chunks, and 1/2 cup of plain homemade yogurt.  Lost in my own sweet reverie I was wondering if there were any more trees around ready for the picking.  It’s still on the early side but have Mango Pole, Will Travel.

Rack didn’t care.  Laser Beams were boring a hole through my mind saying “Feed Me, Seymour!”.

I was in trouble.  “Let me finish my breakfast, will you?”.

Rack doesn’t like being told no, so he did his avoidance act.  Looked away just enough that I was in the corner of the eye.

I laughed at the pitiful display as I finished all but the last couple spoons of yogurt and one small bit of yellow mango.

“Here you go, Rack, Two treats today!”  I dropped the orange bowl on top of the curried egg bowl earlier.  You’d think he was starving with the gusto he tore into the yogurt.

I finished making up my coffee, quietly, as Rack tried to lick the orange off the plastic bowl.

The thing with him is the Social Aspect Of Feeding.  He’s a weak beta dog.  Rack will eat only when asked, and invited.  If he’s eating, he’s very easy to disturb.  However if I am eating, being the pack leader, he will power through the meal and make it a point to finish.  After all, he’s used to me giving him that last bit of food when I finish my meal.

I’m making a good approximation for how a pack of dogs, or even wolves, eat in the wild.  The Alphas eat first, the Betas get the leftovers.  I’m speaking dog.

He understands.  Finishing the last bit of yogurt, I lift the two bowls from the top of his purple food bowl.  “I’ve got to rinse these for the dishwasher, boy.”

I turn to my work and he proceeds to try to taste the purple to see if purple plastic tastes different from orange plastic.

All in all it’s a good day to be a pet.

Oscar 1, Rack 0

When you have more than one pet, hilarity may ensue.

When one of those pets is much more fearful than it should be, it’s bound to go much differently than you might have expected.

I got Oscar many years ago.  He’s my Orange Wing Amazon Parrot, and he’s named Oscar for a reason.  He can be a grouch.

But lately, his personality is starting to blossom.  He’s demanding more attention, and he seems to be more interested in what anyone is doing around the house.

He used to simply sit in his cage and growl.  As in Leave Me Alone, I’m Going To Attack You If You Get Closer growl.

He did have a time where he was somewhat more cuddly but for some reason, he decided that wasn’t for him.

Now he’s deciding that he wants some human contact.

We are adjusting.

He sits in his TV Set sized cage on the room divider in the middle of the house.  I put him there so he can see everything that is going on during the day, and that he can basically sleep in peace at night since the dogs have always stayed in the bedroom overnight without too much running around.

Lately he has been asking to be let out.  Asking as in repeatedly calling “Hello” at an ever increasing volume that approximates the volume of the explosion of Mount Krakatoa.  I’m wondering if there won’t be a visit from the City asking what is that noise and telling me that there have been complaints from someone screaming Hello and laughing repeatedly, but that’s an entirely different story.

Once the door is opened on the cage, Oscar has been content to sit on top and watch the goings on with an occasional foray onto the room divider to clear the top of it of anything that I may have had the temerity of leaving there.  If it is in reach, a parrot will eventually chew on it.  Then they will either knock it off whatever it is sitting on it, poop on it, or sing to it.  Their choice.  Not yours, and it will always happen when you least expect it.

One day, I was sitting in my bouncy chair and I heard a soft movement of air in the house.   That was followed by a loud rattle and thump.

Looking around, I saw one green bird sitting happily on top of the door to the dog’s crate.

Well!  This is new!

I turned my chair to have a better view.  Oscar didn’t mind me but he was intent on staying on the door.

Rack was sitting in the crate, craning his neck to see what was going on.  Watching me, then Oscar, he was wary.

Oscar got bored quickly when he realized I wasn’t going to chase him away.  Climbing down the cage after first testing the dog’s mats on top for taste, he stepped down to the floor, then pulled himself into the crate.

I wasn’t going to stop this, but a curious bird and a fearful dog, could make for a volatile mix.

I was able to grab my camera and walk into the living room for a seat on the coffee table.  This needed to be watched since there were many tasty things around for him to get into such as wallboard, woodwork, and fragile things inside the house that also included the dog.

Oscar had placed himself inside the crate as if in greeting.

Yeah, right.  Greeting.  That’s what we will call it.

Rack is a patient dog, but not terribly assertive.  He waited watching Oscar.

Oscar used to preen Lettie when she would allow it.  She didn’t allow it much, and it usually had to wait for when she was asleep and when I was brave enough to put him on the ground. When she woke up, she’d be out of the room in a shot.

Maybe that was what was churning around inside his head when Oscar was inside of the crate.  Go meet this new dog.  Maybe we can preen.

Oscar likes to preen.  If I stand next to his cage, my ear and my hair will get a thorough preening.  He hasn’t gotten too rough yet, and I haven’t ended up with a pierced ear but…

Oh right, Oscar, in the cage.

At this point, my mind was wondering how much longer would this last.

Rack was being approached by Oscar.  He was going to have his leg preened.

Nope.  Just Nope.

45 pounds of black and white fur flew out of that crate and trotted as far away from that feathered beast as quickly as it could.

Oscar remained in the crate alone.  He was probably just looking for a friend but he had ejected Rack thoroughly.

Then he actually laughed.  Some may say that parrots don’t understand human noises, I disagree.  He’s done silly things for his own entertainment and has laughed afterwords.  I think this was one of these times.  He laughed at the fact that he could eject a dog from a crate.

More like shooting fish in a barrel than anything else.

But it has established a pattern.  Oscar has found out that he can crawl into the crate, fly around the room, and visit.  Rack may not like it, but it will make for an interesting story.

After all, how many people can say that their parrot bullied their dog?

Oscar, You Will Make My Breakfast Cold!

I had JUST set out all the food to make my breakfast when I knew I was going to have an interruption.

Hello?

Walking out to the kitchen, I checked my yogurt.  Needs another day on the counter brewing until it thickens up.

The milk and cereal was portioned out.

Hello.

A Challah Raisin Bagel for some cream cheese and home made cherry jelly was warmed, along with a pretzel roll for the eggs.

A bit of chopped onion for sweetness.

 Urp!  Hah Hah Hah Hah!

Buttering the Pretzel roll I wiped the non stick pan with the butter to get a nice even coat.  Toss the onions on the pan to clarify them.   Sweet onions made sweeter.   Placing a tile wrapped in Aluminum foil on each roll half, the heat would toast them in the butter and flatten them for extra crispyness.

In the meantime I would have my cereal and Challah bagel.  Precisely measured out everything, 42 grams cereal, 160 grams milk, 20 grams each of cream cheese and cherry jelly.  That should stop me from having a “heavy hand” with the condiments.

BRAKKK!  Hello!?!?!

Oscar, it’s raining!

Hah Hah Hah!

Good morning, Oscar!

Urp.

I managed to finish the bowl of cereal.  Timing is good for the eggs to go on.  Immediately turn off the burners, pick up the pretzel roll halves that are toasted to golden brown perfection.  I pour the scrambled eggs over top of the clarified onions when…

BRAKKK! Hello!  Hello! Hell-O!

Oscar can’t you say anything else?

Hello?

Rain, Oscar, do you want a shower?

If you have never had the experience of being around an Orange Winged Amazon Parrot, they like a daily shower.   Rain, the shower, a hose with a mister in the front yard, it’s all good to them.   They love it.  You can’t do it often enough.   It helps keep the dust and the loose feathers down, and they get an iridescent sheen to their feathers that is really quite beautiful in the right light.

I take the eggs off of the skillet and pour them onto the bottom of the pretzel roll…

HELLO!

Yes, Oscar, Rain!

Put the top on the eggs…

Hello! Hello!

Can’t you say anything else?

Hahahahahaha!

Ok, Oscar Shower!

Hello!

I walk the cage out to the pool area.  It’s raining enough that I could stand there with a bar of soap in the back yard and get my morning shower in.  Rinse off in the pool?  Not if I am caught!  I don’t think the Salt System would turn soap into chlorine, I really don’t.  Plus the mid 70s temperature of the water in April is a bit too invigorating for my tastes.

Immediately upon setting the big metal cage down, Oscar begins to enjoy life.   The wings open out broadly.  Feathers are spread to catch every last drop of water.  A general quaking and twitching of his body happens as the water is spread around.  The cage top vibrates on the pavement.

Rain gets heavier.  I think that I was in the middle of something, forgetting what it was while the feathered comic is enjoying himself out back.

A cooing sound happens as what can only be described as joy comes from the cage.

I remember what it was.  My forgotten breakfast.  I pad back into the house and close the door.

Oscar, You will make my breakfast cold!   Shower!  Rain!

When I reach the kitchen, the forgotten food was just warm enough to be perfect.   I guess Oscar’s fun didn’t foul my breakfast after all.

Oscar has his fun while I finish off the pretzel roll stuffed with onion and egg.  Not bad for a first try.  I’ll have to do that more often.

Both the food and having Oscar out back.   Wet season is coming anyway.  I really don’t mind a random washout of a day, and Oscar really does truly enjoy it.

Nice day if you’re a Parrot or a Duck!

Strawberry Season is Not For Dogs!

Standing in my kitchen listening to Armin van Buuren back when he still announced in Dutch, thinking I sort-of understood what he was saying reminded me of a story.

I was cooking and reminded of a story about a friend, Tim who went to Apeldoorn in the Netherlands.  Staying with a friend there, he had a conversation with the friend’s mother.  Speaking no English, and him no Dutch, he said they managed to get the point across.  Not perfectly, but they did seem to understand each other when they had a bilingual conversation.

In the middle of Armin announcing that the next song would be Saltwater by Chicane, I started hearing it.

Hello.

I knew it wouldn’t be a quiet half hour.

Instead of hearing one of the more beautiful Trance songs written in the last decade, I was going to have to cook to a Parrot Symphony with Dog Accompaniment.

Breakfast was going to be creative.  I had some egg and raisin bagels I made and froze.  Shaved onions onto the skillet, prosciutto was going to be fried.

Hello.

A slice…

Hello.

Stare.

Of Swiss Cheese would be melted on the bagel after it toasted in the butter on the skillet.

Hello.

Head tilt, stare.

I was getting the full Monte.

I said hello to Oscar and said “Not for Dogs” to Rack.  Luckily he understands that “Not For Dogs” means you’re not getting any.

Yes, I’ve created Pavlov’s dog as well as Pavlov’s parrot.

The parrot wasn’t going to back down any time soon.

The kitchen filled with the sweet and savory smell of frying onions, the meaty scent of prosciutto, and the butter that I used to cook it all, as I reached for my…

Hello.

Coffee.

Can I walk away from the skillet long enough to get the cover?  Put the bird cage on the floor?

A Parrot’s bond is not a friend bond.  It is a Mate bond.   If you consider that you want a parrot in your life, it really is a long term bond.  30 years is not uncommon and I’ve had my Oscar since 1986.

Armin said some more things in Dutch, and I picked up Art of Trance, Madagascar.  Another truly beautiful Trance track.

The first phase of breakfast was made, the dog had trotted out to stare out the back door.  Pavlov would be proud.  He’s gotten used to having the tail end of my yogurt in the morning.  So much so that when I finish…

Hello.

with the bowl, he goes over to his food bowl to check if I put it there, even if he is watching me eat it.  I open the back door…

Hello.

and he trots over to the bowl expecting me to have already placed it there.

He’s just early.  This is also where Oscar goes into high gear.  I’m slicing strawberries.

It’s Strawberry Season here.   I’m the guy who once bought a flat of strawberries in a flea market in Melbourne, Florida and drove up the coast snacking on them while having two conures walk all over my arms trying to steal a bit.  One was my sister’s present, the other I had for a couple years after.

Yes, I do like Strawberries.

I also…

HELLO!

Like yogurt, and I make my own.   Add a little whole cranberry sauce for some sugar and it makes up a rather nice bowl.  Two grams per calorie, Strawberries are easy on the diet.   I sliced up a large bowl…

HELLO!

poured a large serving of yogurt on top, and the rest of the can of cranberry…

stare

HELLO!

on the bowl.

This was getting annoying.  I stared down the dog, which goes badly when you have a very passive dog.  He trotted back out of my little kitchen.  I took the bowl of fruit and yogurt and did what I had to.

I ate it in the laundry room.

HELLO?

I did give Oscar a strawberry.  He’s eating it now.  I didn’t know that I could give them to the dog, but I’m on the fence with that.  Yet another food obsession.

At least the season is short.

Feeding Time at the Zoo or Service Pack 1, You Decide

My coffee table is full. 

Mind you, I almost never use it for actual coffee.  I prefer to set my coaster on the floor next to the low slung Ikea Poang Chair just inside reach.  It’s also within Dog’s Nose Range and he’s getting curious. 

My McNab Dog, Rack, is already hyperkinetic.  There isn’t a dog on the island that can hold a candle to my boy when we’re outside.  He’ll see a dog he likes or some certain people and he’s airborne.  Jumping five feet into the air is nothing to this black and white spring.  We will just avoid giving my dog coffee, even if it is Half-Caff.

But he was much more mellow this morning, the edge seems to be blunting on his puppy hood insanity, finally.

The coffee table on the other hand has gotten filled with laptops.  My neighbor fried his install of Windows 7 and since I helped his mother get him the thing for xmas a couple years back, we’re helping him get back on the road. 

Clicked on the wrong link did you?   We’ll see what we can do. 

Meanwhile, I’m reworking a computer of mine.  It is the one I wanted to use this morning, so I wasn’t looking forward to seeing a helpful message on my screen.  

At 7AM, I’m walking to my chair, setting the coffee mug on the floor on a bar coaster, and grumbling that there were some updates that needed to happen.  Ok, only three?  Lets do it.

That would be where I needed to actually Read what I saw on the screen, it was a Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update.

Techies know what I’m going to be doing for the next hour or so.  “Civilians”…

Sighing, it’s time to go into the kitchen, make some breakfast.

Rack, my ever faithful sidekick stood at the entry to the galley kitchen.   Nut Brown eyes peering through my soul, I asked “Show me what you want, Rack?”.  He neatly stood up and walked out to the back door.  I let him out thinking that it was great, now I could have breakfast in peace.

Hello!
*sigh*
Hello!
*sigh* What is it Oscar?
Here we go!  Boom!  There it is! Boom!  Herewegoherewegoherewego!  Bwa HAHAHAHAHELLO!BOOM!

I see we have a comedian.  I start up on the bowl of cereal and look out on the Cement Pond in the backyard.

HELLO!  HAHAHA!  BOOM!
Hmm, Boom, that’s a new one.
Hello, Oscar.

I guess the backyard didn’t “take”, Rack is staring at my reflection in the back door.   I sidle over to the kitchen sink, and start talking to Oscar.

Hello, Oscar!  Good morning.
Head cocked to the side, Rack stares a hole through me from the yard.  He’s wanting what I have or more likely what I haven’t had yet for breakfast. 

HELLO! HellLOW!  Urp.
Hello.

More head cocks to the side.  First left, then right, the white stripe on Rack’s head is signalling low flying aircraft to try to land at the Fort Lauderdale Airport instead of his head.

BahbahbahbahbahHELLObahbahbahWAHHAHAHAHAHAhahahaha!  HELLO!
I finish the cereal, pour out my cranberry and yogurt.  Really good batch this time too.
Head is tilting to the side still. 
HELLO!

I walk out to look in on the technology taking a nap in the living room.   I’m being yelled at by a Parrot, a dog wants my food, and my laptop went to sleep. 

Wiggle the little trackpoint on the keyboard. 

Do Not Unplug Your Computer.
Update 3 of 3.
Please Wait.

I’m now grumbling at Microsoft.   Hey, the cereal didn’t make me “not hungry” yet, I’ve got a right to be grumpy!

Finally, I get low enough on the bowl of yogurt to set it into Rack’s bowl.  He gets let inside and proceeds to attempt to lick the top layer of glass off the bowl.

Like that stuff do you?

Oscar is still making a racket on his cage.  I walk over and open his door.  By now Rack is finished and staring at me.  Fine.  Time for Bird and Parrot to meet.

I get Oscar out of his cage and lower him to dog’s nose.  Oscar didn’t like that and growled.  Rack is a complete paper tiger and trots off.   So I set Oscar on the floor.  You see, despite my technology timing problems, It Is A Good Day.  Why is it a good day?  Every day that a parrot doesn’t poop on the living room floor is a good day!

Rack comes over gingerly and decides that he doesn’t need to be quite so close.   I figure that this is a good quick meeting all said and done and set Oscar back into his cage.

My laptop chores are at an end, I hear the windows chime that says it’s starting up.  May as well grind my gears on the machine.   Service Pack 1 is installed, I’ve got things to do.  If you are tied up for an hour, give or take, you may as well play with the dog and the parrot!  They seem to like that sort of thing anyway.

Oscar Really Wanted His Picture Taken

There are some things you need to know about having a parrot.

They live long lives.  I’ve had Oscar since 1986.

They learn a lot of subtle things.  Oscar knows that I keep a bag of Pecans in the shell on the counter in the kitchen near the preparation for my coffee and my iced tea.   He learned that if he says hello enough, I will pay attention.   Two plus two being what they are, he realized that I’m a soft touch and if he gets “cute” enough, he can nag me for those pecans in the morning.

They can be very loud.   We have a “Parrot Safe Volume” that we can play music at in the house.  Music is anything that makes a sound.   If it gets louder in the house than the Parrot Safe Volume, Oscar will accompany it.  If I want to listen to music without having that accompaniment, I use headphones.   If you have a spare pair of really good noise cancelling headphones, you will know what I mean when I say that they can be a true blessing in disguise.

Parrots are curious creatures.  All of the above is a part of why people keep them.  They really do work their way into your life in a way that few other creatures can.  When I stood up and grabbed the camera, “Hello” came from the cage.  However, armed with a few words and sound effects, Oscar knows how to get his point across with inflection just like any other person, feathered, furred, or not.  The hello is not mere parroting.  He will sound like a little teenager who wants attention by saying “Hell-LOW!”.  When he wants to say goodnight, he will make a whistle like a smoke detector we had in our house in Philadelphia back in the 1990s.  A Single Pure Tone when the light goes out is enough.  He will do that when it is time for bed, and he will do it when I walk out of the door to take Rack for his morning walk before sunrise.

So I was not surprised at all when I heard that “Hell-LOW!” from the cage this morning when I grabbed the camera to go out back and grab a few choice pictures.  As I got closer to the cage, he said it again, and kept saying it as I adjusted the date forward to be correct. 

Fine, Oscar, you get your time on the internet.  The next time someone accuses me of “merely parroting” something, I will thank them.  It means I’m paying extra attention and want to make sure that I get what they are saying.

Now just press the button and take my picture, I’m ready for my close up.