Pets: the animalistic analogues of companions that we humans decide to fill our lives with when we can’t find any friends of our own species. Pets can simply provide an extra shoulder to cry on for most people, or they can fill the voids in lives of misanthropes and xenophobes alike. In general, people in search of these warmer traits seek the company of the more “classic” pets such as cats, dogs and even fish. If you happen to opt for birds however (like my family did), you may find yourself blissfully betrayed.
We’ve had birds in our family since I was 3, so naturally, I’ve become numb to their madness, but for the purpose of enlightenment, I’m going to pretend that I’m actually sane and look at life with birds from a normal person’s perspective.
For starters, it’s obvious that birds are potentially the noisiest pets you can find. Owning one bird is already a handful, but there was a point in time when we owned six birds at once. Yes, six freakin’ birds. I basically had my soul sacrificed to Noise Satan.
Thankfully, I now share a home with only half as many birds; The Yellow One, a male common budgie; The Old One (I’m not sure how to describe her colour), a female pearl cockatiel and the newest addition to our collection of noise devils, The Green One; a male green-cheek conure (if you didn’t realize, these aren’t their real names. I’m just trying to save myself from the embarrassment of having to type out their actual ones).
Each bird has their own eerily human personality and corresponding noise level. The Old One, one of the birds that we’ve had since I was 3, is the quietest of the group. She possesses what I would describe as the disposition of an apathetic old woman that probably wouldn’t even care if her closest friend died in the most upsetting way possible. She keeps to herself, refuses to leave her cage and spends the entirety of her days eating and sleeping.
The Yellow One, the noisiest of the group, is highly energetic and very attached to The Old One. The Yellow One never seems know what to do with himself and as a result, spends his entire day in The Old One’s cage in a tragic attempt to be close with her. In this sense, I would describe The Yellow One as more of a sad little puppy that’s a bit too familiar with rejection than a bird.
The Green One, the youngest and the second noisiest of the group, is by far the most active. I expected him to be a pet bird at first, but I quickly realized that he’s actually a mischievous toddler manifested in a feathery form. He literally thinks he’s human. He spends no time with the other birds and is constantly flying from person to person in search of attention or food. Oh and I forgot to mention, he also seems to be a bit of a racist…
Now that you have an idea of the little monsters I live with, let me tell you a little about how they affect my life.
Everyday when I get home, I step into the cacophonous underworld of Noise Hell. Whenever somebody walks through the door, all three birds go off simultaneously with their unique squawks and chirps (well not entirely unique; The Yellow One freakishly imitates the other two). This noise will continue almost continuously until nighttime. On the bright side, we’ve never had a need for a doorbell since our birds have the uncanny ability to tell when someone pulls into the driveway.
Next, I let them out of their cages. The Yellow One simply flies into The Old One’s cage as I mentioned before. It’s The Green One that causes the day’s hardships.
The Green One is ALWAYS on the search for food. I leave a variety of seed mixes and fruit out for him on a daily basis but that’s never good enough. He wants human food. If you are seen with a plate or a snack item in my house, The Green One will be there on your shoulder trying to sneak a bite. If he doesn’t find any real food, he’ll try to eat anything else, and I mean ANYTHING. My phone case is a good example of this.
When he’s not searching for food, he’ll use the nearest available person as his very own preening perch. He tries to act all sweet; cutely chirping out the syllables of his name, using your finger to scratch his head or snuggling up against your neck, but then out of nowhere, the devil comes out. In the middle of his “affectionate” little actions, he sometimes just randomly rotates his 180° turning head in true Emily Rose fashion (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, make sure you watch The Exorcist) and bites whatever he can find on your body, and it really, really hurts (oh and to rub it in, he recites human laughing noises that he’s learned to mimic after hearing an agonizing reaction).
Sadly, he prefers to to nest in my hair whenever I’m at the computer. As a matter of fact, he’s in my hair right now as I type this, whispering death threats in his incomprehensible bird language into my ear… Thank god he can’t read human language. If he could, I assure you, I would have one less eye by now.
Despite this, everybody else in the house treats him like a saint, as if he’s done no wrong. You know that one kid back in elementary school who was the the biggest trouble maker you knew yet all the teachers still adored them? The Green One is that kid; the one kid you wouldn’t mind uppercutting. Stupid animal abuse laws…
When it’s time for bed, a whole new struggle commences. The Yellow One goes easily into his cage. Again, The Green One poses the problems. As soon as the word “bedtime” is uttered, he’s already flying madly around the house and of course, it’s my job to get him into his cage. After a good ten minutes of chasing him around, I finally manage to put him to bed. I take this wondrous time to sit in front of his cage for a little while to stare into his pitch-black, beady eyes and lavish the lovely feeling of knowing that I’ve established my place on the food-chain.
So ya, that’s my life with birds. Why do I put up with it you may ask? Easy answer; because I’m a masochist.
Seriously though, birds are a lot of fun. If you’re thinking of getting a pet bird, go for it. I would choose a bird over a dog, cat or fish every time.
**Animal abuse is wrong. Don’t do it. I assure you that all of our birds are well loved and taken care of**
Special thanks goes out to Nina Shu for inspiring me to write this article and for coming up with the title. Check out her articles here.