Oscar, The Mint, and The Rain

I live by that old Boy Scout Motto:  Be Prepared.

Sometimes I take that to extremes.

Well, not exactly Extremes, but I do tend to plan well ahead of current needs.

I was asked by a visitor to my kitchen a while back, why do I have a glass full of half dead weeds in my kitchen window?

After laughing at the abruptness of the phrasing of the question I told him that it was for a mid morning cuppa.

Cuppa?

Mint Tea, sniff them.

Ohhhh

Scratching his head, he went out and sat in the big green chair as I brought a tray of refreshments.

My personal big green chair, but that’s neither here nor there.

You never know when a cuppa is on order.  I learned that years ago at my mother’s knee around the big white circular table in our kitchen.  I had my friend up from Key West, and if anyone has ever hosted someone from Great Britain, you know that they walk in the house and put on the kettle.

I wonder often whether that isn’t some Pavlovian response to walking in the door or not.  Since it doesn’t effect me, and he does bring his own tea bags, it’s neither here nor there.

He also doesn’t care for Mint Tea.  Silly man.

This particular day it was raining, so I told my friend on my big green chair to hold on, and I popped Oscar’s cage apart and walked it out to the deck with a cheery “Here, old man, have a shower!”.

People do like to watch Oscar flap about in the rain, so my friend was standing in the door way attracting Mosquitoes as I nudged past.

I also reached over and grabbed a sprig of mint as I was out there and walked back to the kitchen.

“Where are you going with that?”

“Refill for tomorrow.  Be Prepared!  May as well, this way it will stay fresh for later!”  I dropped it into the glass looking for anything growing in it.

Nothing to root, my friend went back out to watch Oscar.

“Entertaining old buzzard, isn’t he?”

Yes, I’ve known him longer than just about anyone.  Besides he doesn’t like Mint either. 

Silly bird.

“Here, the kettle is on, have a bit of tea…”

Rack In The Car, Oscar in The Yard, Weather, and Pests on the Phone

Having a picture that just refused to be cropped correctly for a month, I settled in to work on it.

It just wasn’t going to be an easy one.  Most people would shrug and say try again.  I am too stubborn.

The first problem was it looked like something from the criminal’s lair in the campy old TV show from the 1960s, Batman.  Tilted to the one side, it was a picture taken behind my back.  I was trying to be slick.  I didn’t want my dog to be distracted.

One day we had piled into the big blue beast and drove down to the office.  This was one of Rack’s all time favorite things to do.  We would head down A1A and he’d stick his head up just high enough to watch the endless summer parade by with accents of tourists and palm trees.  For a dog that I see shut down way too often, the joy in his canine brown eyes was a pleasure to see.

So I stuck the camera under my left arm, between the seats and tapped the trigger a couple times to fire off a couple shots.  It wasn’t like I expected much.  But I did like the picture if I could “Do Anything With It”.

I settled in this morning to play with the software.  I could eventually paste it into Photoshop, but let’s see what happens in Irfan View with a judicious crop.  Try to find the rotation tool…

The weather alert fires off for the first time in weeks.  I’m actually happy it “still works”.  Listening to Sneezy The Weather Robot, I try to get a little further.

Try 15 degrees…

Marine Warning?  I’m on dry land.  Ignore.

14 Degrees…

Phone rings.   “No, Dave’s not here, man!”.  Yes, seriously.  Cheech and Chong when the phone rings before 9AM is about the best I intend to do.

Man.

13 Degrees… Yes! Close Enough!

Oscar flaps around a bit, and I start to crop.  Like a Barber – A little off the sides, a little off the top.  Maybe a Mani-pedi and a little off the bottom.

Suddenly, Monsoon.

I set the computer back on the table.  Grab Oscar’s cage.  A picture of Rack’s Favorite Thing will wait, I have Oscar’s Favorite Thing for the first time in over a week.  Rain.

I take the top of the cage, bird and all, out to the back yard.  It’s raining buckets, but the water hasn’t even gotten off the roof yet to soak the back of my shirt as I walk him out to the pool deck.

That gives me 15 minutes to work on things.  A pass through the Spanish Tutor.  I could eat apples and drink milk with the best of them but only while I’m on the toilet apparently.  Learning Spanish On The Loo it should be called.

I head back out to the chair to work with the picture more and play Photo-barber.  It’s a square format, it will have to do.

The rain stops as suddenly as it started.  Better go after the parrot before the Opossums or the Raccoons do.  The “scale” on the outside of the cage had washed away in the torrent.

I bring Oscar back in and set the top of the cage on the base.  Phone rings.

“Dave’s not here, Man!”.

Tommy Chong, I am not.  I am however getting tired of the wrong numbers.  There’s a car website somewhere that people sign up to opt in for phone calls from people to help them find cars.

Opt in.
To Find Cars.

Why on earth would you ever want to hear from a shouty car salesman?  I have heard from all the high pressure car dealers in South Florida over the last week.  Most of them are blocked.  I have heard from Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru.  Most of them are insistent that this is Dave’s number.

“No, dude, you’ve been scammed, remove the number he gave out mine”.  I usually can’t even get the sentence out before I’m talking to a dead line and a bloop from my phone.

I start getting texts from someone who insists I need to look at a video on my phone.  No, I won’t bother, the idea that I have to watch a commercial in order to watch a video that lasts less time than the commercial is insane.  All that is blocked on the computer.  Adblock Edge to the rescue.

Phone rings.  More “Dave”.  http://www.truecar.com has my ire.  I will never be able to block all of these things.

Look at the watch.  A 10 minute crop and edit has taken an hour and a half already.

Oh well, by the end of this I will have every single car dealer in South Florida Blocked.  Thankfully I have a modern Android phone that lets me do that sort of thing?

One last burp.  The music in the house.  It stutters, I think nothing of.  I’m almost done here..

The internet goes down.  Damn Comcast!  I walk into the laundry and reset the cable modem.  That doesn’t help.

Comcast is down until 2pm.

(Sigh) One Of Those Days.  I’ll have to use the bluetooth keyboard and finish the post on the phone.

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 Really Doesn’t Like Swag Balls

I have always liked what I’ll call when I’m being charitable, swag.

You know, the junk that you get for free when you go to a trade show?  These days, now that the Republican Induced Recession is fading away, business is getting better.   That means we’re getting better Swag. 

My buddy up in Atlanta, Craig, went off for a visit to San Francisco.  For me that would be a trip of a lifetime, for Craig, he got to learn more about Virtualization and VMWare.  I can hold my own with some of the technology, but his knowledge on the subject is encyclopedic.   He handles a large server farm worth of virtual computer servers for a company up there and can quote you chapter and verse over a beer in a bar.

That’s my test of knowledge, how coherent can you be when you’re on your second beer on a subject.   Trust me, he knows his stuff.

About the second day of soaking in the Virtualization Goodness, I got a picture of the inside of his hotel room with the second bed covered in Swag.  Tshirts, flashlights, blinky things, a USB hub shaped like a little man, that sort of thing. 

We were laughing about the oddball things he had gotten and I guess it struck a chord.   I have a few things from the Swag Collection, including that blue ball that caught my eye.  Having a pool helps with that thing, give it a smack and it blinks with a bright blue light.   A couple years back that quality of crap wouldn’t be given out for free.  The last computer trade show I went to hardly had hard candy at the booths, and the booth babes were just starting to make an appearance in their midriff showing uniforms.

When I got that Box of Swag I opened it up piece by piece in the dining room.  Rack came over and started giving things a sniff.  I can always count on the curiosity of my McNab Dog to stick a wet nose in when something new shows up.  At the same time my own Oscar started chattering.

Oscar chattering is normal, having a parrot in the house means that you have to go out of your way to entertain them or else you will end up having a screeching mess.  You’re not going to have a good time of it.  Step one, make sure that you have plenty of bird safe toys.  Un-destructable things that won’t shatter when a strong beak grabs it and bites down, or when it hits the floor since both things will happen.

It also helps if they’re not something that will scare Oscar.   I have a small beach ball that he hates.  I mean eye flashing growling hates.  He will peck at it until it bounces off that cage and into the dog.

The dog doesn’t get it either.

When Oscar gets a bit too loud, the beach ball helps quiet him down as a result.

Putting junk on the cage helps him go and attack them instead of taking a chunk of beef out of my arm.  He’ll spend time preening the ropes, chewing the fluff off of the tennis ball that is attached to the rattle, and shred the insides of the toilet paper tube instead of screaming at the music that almost always is playing here.

But he has a nemesis.  Anything ball shaped and larger than a plum is just too much.  That is why I was confused he was showing so much interest in the blue swag ball. 

I placed the swag ball on top of the cage and I heard a little fear grunt as he backed off to the far corner.

Interesting.

I picked up the swag ball and turned it around in my hand letting the light catch it.

Oscar started to flash his eyes in curiosity so I set it back down.

Beak made contact and … the ball rolled away only to come back and tap his beak lightly.

Flap wings and regain stability, the green bird went after it again.

Tap.  This time the ball rolled off the cage with a bounce or three on the floor.

It was blinking when I put it back on the cage.  Oscar never expected that as he dove for the door of this cage for safety.   Blinking stopped after about ten seconds and he came back out. 

The Swag Ball is Evil and Must Be Banished.

Tap.  Not quite as forceful as before, plus I had it in a low spot where the toys roll to the center of the top of his metal wire room.

Parrots are exceedingly curious creatures.  They learn quickly.  They also don’t like change.  I don’t think that little walnut that passes for a brain can process why it rolled off the cage before but not now.

TAP!  The swag ball sat there.  TAPATAPATAP!   His dance school impression worked.  It rolled off the high spot and flew off the cage bouncing off the table and onto the floor.

Parroting in English Slang means to repeat something without understanding it.  In Oscar’s Case, he parroted one of my own laughs at the ball as it hit the floor and rolled into the kitchen.  I swear this bird was laughing at the ball and at his success at banishing the evil thing in a triumph of Schadenfreude!

Luckily it was designed to hit the floor.  The ball is intact, the bird is happy, and we found a new routine.   After all, it does tend to quiet the little brat down for a while and he’s interacting with me through the ball.

He’s not brave enough to leave the cage on the room divider in the middle of my house.  I’m fine with that, especially that since I go absent minded from time to time and leave him out when I wander out into the great beyond of my yard in the middle of the South Florida Sprawl.   He feels safe there now that the Blue Swag Ball has been banished and is content to sit there, staring at me with red ringed eyes from the comfort of his home.

Swag balls or not.

Petsitting Ellie

It happens that the other day my neighbor Bill needed to have his apartment bug bombed.

Since his dog Ellie and my dog Rack are friends, I got to play petsitter.

You’d think it would go well but by the end of the day I remembered the old Bill Cosby sketch about the woman on a cross country flight with a child.  The kid was hyperactive and trying to meet and talk with absolutely everyone on the plane.  By the end of the flight the kid who managed to annoy just about everyone it met was asleep.  So everyone who passed by knocked the chair.  When the woman got off to meet her husband she knocked him out with a punch from the frustration.

It wasn’t that frustrating.  Besides, you can get through most situations like this.  After all it’s only one day.

The original plan was to leave Ellie in the backyard.  You see, Original Plans never are what end up happening.

It’s summer here in South Florida.  The high yesterday was forecast to be above 90.  You can’t leave a dog outside in that heat in clear conscience. 

I was getting all sorts of helpful hints from people who didn’t realize that I was going to do what I thought was right for everyone involved.

Once the house was empty of extraneous personnel, I did what I thought was right.

First step.  Make sure the dog proof house was “strange dog proof”.   I gave the place a once over.  Picked up the recycling from the floor.  Got that stray cheezy poof out of the corner, ran the vacuum, and closed off extra rooms.   That made life easier for me limiting where the two dogs could go.

Rack was going to be in the house as well.

Second step.  Ellie was in the backyard, tied to a long tether to the support beam to the Lanai.  She got here fairly early, and it was still what passed for cool here.  Low 80s in the shade.

I let Ellie in.   Rather, Ellie guilted me into letting her in.  She got lonely in a strange yard.   She really didn’t understand this nonsense of being tide up for any length of time and was impatient.  I started hearing paws tapping on my back door.  It’s glass.  I had visions of an 8 foot tall glass slab breaking and falling into the house. 

Ok so I exaggerate.

I parked myself at the desk next to the door so she could see me.  That just made her more insistent about coming in.

Third step.  The two dogs are now in the house.

She walked over to the parrot cage.  Knew something was going on but didn’t see it.  Her nose told her what was up.  She just didn’t look there.   Oscar, being a prey animal, didn’t like the intruder so he barked at Ellie and flapped his wings.  That clued Ellie in.  The entire afternoon, every time she would pass Oscar’s cage, Ellie would look up and sniff.

Oscar, you’re not getting out time this afternoon.

If you have a dog, think back to the first day you had them.  The first day, the new dog will walk around and sniff everything.  Absolutely everything.  Then they will eventually mark territory.  Expect it.

What I didn’t expect was how Ellie would do all of that.

Rack hid in his corner.  Ellie came over, sniffed him, moved on sniffing the house.  It would be about 3 hours before Rack would come out for that visit.  You see, Ellie is clearly an Alpha Dog.  That’s fine, I rule this pack, I’m the Pack Leader.  I’ve got the chest for that T Shirt anyway!

Ellie having realized that Rack was happy being stuffed in the corner found me.  What I thought was friendly greetings of paw on my arm was a conversation.  By the time she stopped talking, I had a sore spot on my left arm from all that talking.  Gabby little woman, you are!

She got tired of talking and wandered off looking hungrily at Oscar on the way by.

You know that saying that parents have about the house being “Too Quiet”?  It was.

I walked into the main room.  There was a 10 foot stripe of recycled water going from one end of the house to the other.  My house was marked in the way that an elephant may use it’s trunk. 

Rack still hid in the corner.

Grabbing mop, floor cleaner, bucket, and 130F Water I found that I got a clean spot in the grout after I was done.  I’ll remember that for later!

Not a happy camper but I did expect it.  So THAT was what you meant by the paw on the foot.  No more water for you, Ellie.  She seems not to have an off switch with that.

I pried Rack loose of the corner, and left the empty Ellie to have free reign of the house.  When I went in for my shower, she didn’t want to be left alone so she parked herself on the bath mat.  Awww, sweet, but in the way when I went to step onto the bathroom floor.

I’m lucky.  Having been a long distance inline skater, that’s Rollerblades to you, I slid across the wet floor and into the hallway, careening into the door at around 10MPH. 

I’ll leave the door closed next time.

Lunch time eventually arrived.  I told Bill what was up.  He filled me in on the whole Paw on the Arm signal.  Thanks Pal!  You could have told me earlier! 

Ellie was finally empty having been cut off from the water bowl after drinking and losing about a quart in the morning.  Really that’s a new breed of dog called the sponge.  Soaks and leaks water where you least expect it.

I’ll get that floor scrubber out later…

After Bill went back to his workplace, I had the two dogs free in the house.  Rack had stopped being so fearful and decided to come out to sniff around.  Ellie was bored.  Every 30 minutes she was in and out.  Rack wanted the yard too.

“In or out you two!”

I didn’t expect to get anything productive done this day anyway.

Eventually it got so they started to play.  I had two hyperactive midsized dogs.  What were they going to do?

The Alpha dog trying to dominate the Beta Dog.  The Beta Dog doesn’t know he’s a dog and doesn’t speak that language well so he would try to herd the Alpha.  My coffee table got circled about 40 times.  Herding instincts kick in.  Rack starts to nip at Ellie’s heels.  Ellie didn’t care for that.  Ellie would stop and try to coax Oscar’s cage open just by using Eye Magic.  Oscar’s wings were wide open, he was lunging at the cage bars and barking.

TIME OUT!

Rack goes into the bedroom.  I drag Ellie outside one more time.  Perimeter search, no wet spots!  Paws on two doors at once.  Rack hears UPS truck and starts to grumble.  Ellie wants to play.

We have arrived at Bedlam, population: 3.

Kevin gets home.  Two jumping dogs.  Rack backs down when commanded, Ellie tries to charge at the door.

Nope.  Her feet scrabble on the Florida Tiles in the dining room like a windup toy trying to get a purchase.  The ritual of getting Kevin indoors takes 5 solid minutes.   I finally just let go of Ellie.  I was safe in my chair and Kevin was down a dog.  

She runs across the room in a fawn colored dash sliding into the door at full force.

THUMP-jump-bark-jump-BARK!

I guess she likes you. 

15 minutes later I had enough.  Time out again.  I took Ellie outside.  It was now 6pm.  Bill would be home in about 15 minutes.  She’d have the last half hour outside.  Temperature was down to 83 in the shade.

Even Ellie had had enough, she just collapsed on the cool grass under the bougainvillea.

The big black pickup truck was rumbling home from a block away.  Bill got in.  As soon as I knew I could hear that large inline six cylinder engine, I noticed that Ellie was out back at the door rattling around sounding excited.  

The visit was ending.  It was time for normal again.

Oscar, This Will End Badly…

I’ve learned in the 28 years of having a parrot that they do like to get in things.

I’ve put all sorts of things on top of his cage.  Sometimes to quiet him down, sometimes as toys.

No matter what, they tend to be both.  Start as an object of fear, then they proceed to be something to be chewed on. 

In this case, the box once held our Weatheralert radio.  In Florida, it’s a requirement to have one of those.  Not by the various governments, mind you, but if you don’t have one, you’re going to be at a loss.

Since Oscar likes to chew anything cardboard or paper, I put it up there with his tennis ball, and his paper towel insert tube.

Originally he looked at it and growled.

Then he went over to it and pecked at it.  The box leaned back and wobbled.  So did Oscar.

Grabbing hold of the box, he realized I wasn’t getting too excited about it, so he may as well do what parrots are known for.  He pooped.

Then he began to shred the box.  I think the wobbling got to be what he wanted because he crawled inside of it instead of playing “Let the Human Fetch” by knocking it on the floor.

A happy parrot can be a quiet thing.   He went inside his penthouse and began to redecorate it.  All the while, he was pushing backward on the box until it got perched precariously on the edge.

I said to him “Oscar, this will end badly, why don’t you come out?”.

Expecting a Simpsons result where Santa’s Little Helper heard “Blah blah blah sit blah blah blah”.  I was surprised.  He did come out of the box and get interested in other things.

At that point, the Looney Tunes result happened.  He went to nudge the tennis ball, and the box hit the floor.  Oscar was still safe, and I was still entertained.

I put that box back on top waiting to see what would happen next.  You just never know!

Oscar’s New Obsession

I don’t particularly “get” tennis.

You buy tennis balls in bulk.  Hit them over walls and fences that never seem to stop that line drive.  Grunt and sweat, and try again.

At least it is harmless, even if I can’t wrap my head around why people want to stand on a clay court on a hot summer day in the Florida sun.

It does have it’s benefits though for us pet owners.  Those wild line drives.   I’ve found tennis balls around town.  I have found them a block away, which leaves me scratching my head.

I guess a Labrador retrieved it and lost interest.

Keeping a supply of them on hand, I tend to try for new uses for them.

I did try bouncing the things to try to get Rack interested in A New Toy.  Nah, he was bored with them.  Every so often he will pick them up and herd them into a spot so that they can be watched in case they escape and try to make a run for it.

Lettie loved the things.  If I bounced one into the pool, she would hover at the edge alternately looking at the ball, and at me, and asking if I would be so kind to get that for her.

Now.

Not later.

NOW!

She was an intense dog.

But Rack seems bored by them.  He’ll watch them bounce after things with a Jeff Spicoli stoner look on his face then glance back as if to ask “You really expect me to get that thing?  You don’t know where it has BEEN!”.

I even tried Lettie’s favorite trick.  Slice the tennis ball open to make a change purse.  Maybe a two inch slice.   Stuff it full of dog food or treats.  Then roll it past the dog’s nose.

You just gave a dog a solid half hour worth of fun.  They won’t be back for attention for quite a while.

Two problems with that.

First, Rack doesn’t have a prey drive.  None at all.  He sees cats, lizards, snakes, and other things that go bump in the night on a daily basis.  Nothing.  He got hissed at by one of the herd of ducks we keep running into here.  Muscovy Ducks are to be looked at and ignored.

Second, Rack hardly eats.  It’s something I worry about, but am finding ways to manage.  If I put a bowl down it is more of a surprise than you would expect if he actually immediately ate it.   He may ignore it for an hour or so and come back, or just skip the meal until the planets align and it is once again The Age Of Aquarius.

Peace, dude.


I have to put his food next to his bed so he can dine in the middle of the night while I sleep.   Just lol his head over the edge and get the food into his mouth.

Strange creature.

That left me with tennis balls.  All over my house.  Under the furniture.  Wedged on top of the dog’s crate door to hold it open.  Under my bed.  Gathering dust.

Some of them are slit open to accept some tasty morsels in case Rack changes his mind, but I really don’t expect that to happen.

The other day, Oscar got loud in the way only a parrot can.  He started chattering and screeching to the

conversation I was having in the house.  Here’s where the tennis balls came into play.

Oscar was inside the cage.  He doesn’t like New Things.  Parrots are prey animals, so New Things may attack.  Guilty until proven innocent.

A New Years hat that was saved got put there.  Oscar didn’t like that but it shut him up.  After a minute or three I walked over and took it off.   Oscar calmed town and went back to chattering.

Then screaming started again.

Out came the tennis balls.

He’s not completely terrified of the balls.   He knows he can reach under them, and if he gives them a nudge in the right direction, they will roll off the cage.

Which was what he did.  No problem, he understands that he can do it and it keeps him quiet until it hits the ground.

So this time I grabbed the ball with the slit in it.   I have a plastic loop with a couple rings on the bottom wedged into the wires of the cage.  He has pretty much given up trying to move that thing.  It won’t go.

I got the tennis ball with the slit in it and opened it to wedge on to the top of the loop.  There is a blue plastic ball on there that keeps it in place.

So now we have a tennis ball that won’t move.

Oscar is smart enough to understand that he can chew the opening, and the fuzz.  Since there seems to be an endless supply of tennis balls here in Wilton Manors that go astray at the park, I’m hoping he destroys the ball.

I added another two to the collection just sitting on the cage.

This particular morning, Oscar got loud when I was making breakfast.  Since I was going to sit next to his cage, I opened the door.  I would see if he got into anything he shouldn’t have, so it was safe.

Up to the top of the cage immediately to investigate those three balls.

Two got knocked off in short order.

Oscar tried to push that third one, but it didn’t move easily.

Grabbing the fluff, he managed it to the edge of the cage but it didn’t fall.

Poor bird, you’ve been tricked yet again.

After a good solid 10 minutes of this, he merely accepted it as something that just was.

Walking over to the corner of the cage, he fluffed out his feathers and went to sleep.  Dreaming of the sexy ring neck dove that comes by the window to visit, no doubt.  They could share their avian dreams of tennis balls that can be ejected onto the floor with ease.

There’s always a human to pick them up at any rate and set them back on top of the cage.

Silly bird.

Who knows.  Oscar could just be trying to get the dog to fetch.  After all, Lettie would do that.  Oscar would toss the ball off the cage, and Lettie would tear after it.  I’d find the ball later under the bed or some random piece of furniture, but by dog, that was where she wanted it!

I’m still finding those silly things.  Right where she wanted it…