Rainy-Day Bird

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Late yesterday afternoon, as I prepared to take my Cockatoo, Peaches, out for a walk, a light rain began falling. The sounds of rain-hitting soon becoming rapid and loud cancelled that bird-outing. I’d been watching Peaches who needing to escape his cage had swung full-on into his favorite OCD behavior, a repeated series of rapid movements in a set pattern, included in each cycle an “eye-blink pause” to check if I see him.

I am watching and do get the message, Peaches needs a diversion. Letting him loose to perch on my shoulder is best far as he’s concerned, but yesterday my cat Maxwell was inside and nearby. If Max happens to be sleeping in a bedroom and closing the door will keep him there, Peaches can be free in the living room. I’m not sure Max could or would try to overcome Peaches who’s awesome beak can break bones. Anyway, I’ll not experiment by letting the bird loose near the cat or dogs.

Peaches loves cardboard, and I save boxes–little ones from small packages and bigger ones from Amazon purchases–and I avoid plastic by removing any tape. When the bird sees me enter the living room and carrying a box, he watches me toss into it a peanut or two. He’s alert, waiting for me to close the box, give it a good rattle and set it at his cage bottom. Immediately Peaches descends and refocuses his OCD by going to work and tearing the entire box into matching puzzle-size pieces. He finds and gobbles the peanuts and keeps tearing until the entire box is in tiny bits.

The size of his “bird-box” gift depends on how long Peaches should stay busy. Yesterday, needing entertainment only until dinner-time, he received a “two-hour box”. It got him out of my hair, and I watched television as Max dozed on my lap.

Dear Friends: A mixed-species, indoors on a rainy afternoon, demands creativity. Diana

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