My parents never really intended to turn in to bird breeders. They just picked up some cute little conures for companionship from people who didn’t want them anymore and were selling them. Only the vast majority parrots aren’t sexually dimorphic, so they ended up with a pair that formed a mated pair bond.
Bobber and Mango are currently helping raise their third clutch of babies. Only this time, there was a large gap between when all three chicks hatched so they are hugely varied in size. I have videos of hand-feeding all five. I’ll start with feeding Tiny, who is obviously the youngest and smallest of the three. (And still very much in the ugly, ugly stage.)
The middle chick, Tango, is getting enough of its feathers that it is cute and helpless. The neck is a bit scrawny and those tailfeathers look so itchy growing in.
The eldest chick my dad has named Tam. It is much bigger, and has a more adult shaped beak. Also its feathers are much further along and it has started vocalizing frequently.
The parents don’t mind you feeding the babies, but they do insist that they get in on the formula feeding action too. So here are Mango and Bobber with Tam nearby for comparison. The father, Bobber is far more energetic and demanding about the syringe and there’s something about the tiny noises that Tam is making that make me want to snuggle it for ages.
It won’t be too long before all the chicks start to look more similar as bigger juveniles, but for now the difference is very sharp.
I have this delightful and frustrating little nanday conure named Beaky. He snuggles and plays and makes me smile. But he won’t, absolutely won’t, play when I’m trying to film him. It’s a shame because he’s very funny. Here are some of our failed attempts to get him to show how rambunctious and fun he can be.
Here is how it looks when he stops playing with toys in his cage as soon as you start filming.
And this is a sequence of short videos I tried to capture of him on one of the play gyms we constructed for the main bathroom. He’s a jerk. He’s also beautiful. You can at least watch him climb around and see his eyes pinpoint in his pouch.
I guess this isn’t so much photographic as videographic. Anyway, here is what part of our Saturday afternoon with our pets looked like. We snuggled all our beasties on the bed. The dogs played and Beaky was mostly just happy to be close, held and snuggled.
The dogs like biting me. And you can tell by their growling, they’re terribly fearsome.
And they like biting each other’s faces while kicking us.
Beaky just likes us. Also, he doesn’t seem to understand about cameras and filming. Don’t approach and climb on the person trying to shoot, silly bird. Toward the end, I get him to bob up and down, one of the first playful things he ever did with us. He looks so boring and unplayful here, but I promise, when I’m not trying to film him, he is clownish and adorable.
All that playing makes Atrus sleepy.
Beaky never seems to be happy unless he’s on top of one of us.
And like all parrots, he does this thing where he stops and stares at his feet in fascination.
This weekend we went to my parents’ place for a summer BBQ. My mom asked I put up a post about the cute critters, so enjoy.
First is the evidence of my newfound strategy of placating an anxious corgi mix with cabbage. Behold Atrus, official household Cabbagehead.
I also have videos of the dogs playing the backyard. Our dogs both have a very passive disposition, and so they have a tendency to let the older beagle win. By the end of the day, they don’t even really try to take the ball away from Bonnie.
My parents recently clipped the wings of their pair of conures (one is a sun, the other a jenday) so it is safe to take them outside again with supervision. Normally they’re pretty snugly, but they weren’t super interested in being held on Sunday.
They are terribly beautiful creatures (although I’m still partial to the colors of my bright green Beaky), and quite clownish.
They also love certain kinds of meat. (No idea what happened to this video; Thrack took this one and it is rotated sideways.)
Looking at how nicely my parents’ backyard has come together makes me wish we were further along fixing our yard up. For example, we’ve had to kill off the grass in a large section of the yard because a previous owner buried impermeable plastic a few inches below the surface. We’re still digging it up. The dogs don’t seem to mind, though.
Let’s get right down to it: birds are weird.
My little parrot has a frequent tendency to study an object that has never moved to ensure that it is safe and the item means him no harm. He often does this with things above him: light fixtures, smoke detectors, vents, hooks in the ceiling, etc. I don’t really think anything of it when I see him doing it anymore, because it’s just something he does, and makes sense for a prey species.
This morning I took him outside with me as I did a few things in the cool morning weather in the yard. But this morning, there was something to be very concerned about. The moon. There is a partial moon overhead this morning and Beaks was very seriously concerned that it might be out to get him. So he studied it very carefully multiple times to make sure it wasn’t up to some nefarious purpose.
Yes, it’s a gimmick to get people to come, yes, dinosaurs are extinct. But it turns out they used the opportunity of a talking about cool things being extinct as a way to educate kids about the importance of conservation for species we’ve displaced and threatened, so it’s actually awesome. In a children’s learning exhibit, they had a great example of “Man is the Greatest Enemy” trope where kids lifted a door at child face height to reveal a mirror. Also the dinosaurs are animatronic and that’s pretty cool.