Friday, May 6, 2011

Rascal E. Birdie

Meet Rascal. He's an African Grey Parrot and he resides in my home.  I hesitate to call him a "pet" because he just isn't a cuddly, warm and fuzzy type of guy.  He is 18 years old and we inherited from my mother-in-law about 10 years ago.  My husband "just had to have him!"  I didn't particularly want another animal to take care of. We already had a dog and a cat at the time and I knew nothing about birds except that they can be messy.  However, it was like a little kid trying to convince a parent who wanted a new puppy:  "Don't worry honey, I'll take care of him and you won't have to do a thing."  Yeah right.  Mumsy (my wonderful mother-in-law) purchased Rascal when he was just a baby and unfortunately didn't really socialize him very much so he's not very friendly…..and he hates men…all men…including my husband.  My sons will not even go near him.  He has been known to be all nice and lovey when you're rubbing the top of his head and then…BAM….that sharp beak grabs ya right down to the bone!  He's gotten Chris quite a few times.  Think Alfred Hitchcock and "The Birds."

Chris' sister has offered to take Rascal home with her but I've actually fallen in love with the ornery guy.  He has a huge vocabulary and talks up a storm! When the phone rings he says "hello."  When the dogs bark, he yells (in Chris' voice) "Knock it off!"  When we turn the TV off at night he says, "time to go night-night."  If I'm in another room for an extended period of time and he can't see me he'll say "hello….hello…." in a sing-songy voice.  He asks the dogs if they want to go outside to go potty and he sings beautifully too. In fact he's singing as I type this.  He makes noise like water filling up the coffee pot, mimics the microwave and our voices.  He will eat just about anything (except caffeine, alcohol and avocado) and loves nuts and grapes.  He also seems to know when I'm cutting apples and says "want some apple?" – probably because I've said it to him before I give him some.  He even grumbles like an old man sometimes.

But…he has some truly annoying habits too.  He coughs as if he has bronchitis, he flings his food when he wants something different and he barks like a dog when he wants MORE food.  He has been know to escape his cage and has taken hunks out of our blinds and eaten the buttons off the remote control.  He has also destroyed two high school history books – that we had to pay for.  We now have two padlocks on his cage and he hasn't escaped on his own for quite some time.

Today it was quiet and I started watching him move around in his habitat and take a bath.  He climbs into his water bowl and flings the water onto his head and then onto his wings and flaps them all over (yes all over). 
He then preens his feathers and fluffs them all up.  He continued this for quite some time and it was fascinating to watch.  I have seen him bathe before but never really watched the whole show.  During the process, he actually stopped and looked at me and said "WOW!" – like – hey can't a guy have any privacy! 
He's an interesting character and I'm glad that he's part of our family – even if he is able to peck my eyes out!


  1. What a goof!! At least he hasn't bitten me............yet. And he is too funny!!

  2. He sounds very cute! I can't imagine having him bite though, that would scare me.

  3. I want a bird that will tell my dog to stop barking! How cool is that?