Caring For Birds

Stranger Than Fiction – I Know.

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Whoever’s been in charge of the universe for June and July, should please reconsider their enthusiasm with lobbing challenges at me. It’s getting a bit much now Big Fella. I’ve decided to hang about here as long as I can today, catching up with blogging and so on, so forgive me if I get a little spammy. I’ll also be keeping a weather eye out for any more of these things that float about and make life “interesting”. Mainly, rotten little tentacled bugs, considering the way my life’s been going lately.

After my poor parrot was sick as a… parrot, there’s been Jelly hurting his leg again, and me bringing a rather large guava tree branch inside (in a bid to try and lose my dawn to dusk live feather boa for a few hours a day), which then subsequently fell on me when I forgot it was there, and zoomed on forth to get my morning cup of tea. It also fell on Angus, as he predicted it would when I brought it in to begin with, but we’ll say no more about that.
Then I lost my balance a bit, when I was carrying a nice warm bowl of home-made stew type stuff for the dog and the chickens outside, and with a perfect flick of the wrist, ended up with horrible looking, warm gunge, all over myself. Not a good look, any day of the week, I can tell you. Bits flew all over the place. Including into my left ear. The chickens created such a scene, you’d have thought arma-egg-don had arrived. And I’ve got a pulled muscle to add injury to insult also. Crappy internet issues followed, although I should be used to those at this point, and now I have my second round of malaria in less than a year happening. Happy days, you say? Well… I’m going to have to insist on it.
I do feel crap though. I’m dosed to the eyeballs with everything I can think of. I don’t want to head down the quinine route again, and end up hearing Mozart’s piano concertos in my head, for two weeks straight. I’m not having the musicals return without a fight. That quinine had me seeing the weirdest things, and having even weirder dreams. Not good stuff at all. Then, there’s the still quite recent memory of the last bout of malaria not being so keen on leaving, and death becoming a point to ponder. Bugger all that I say! I’m typing! And also most definitely planning on moving, in the foreseeable future, to climes less prone to full body invasions by bugs.
I’ve been getting on with all the editing that African Me is needing. I’ve honestly been tempted on many occasions to toss the whole thing in the bin. It’s so littered with newbie grammar gremlins and plot issues that I’m embarrassed. It’s not a good idea to write a doorstopper novel before you’ve so much as written a one page short story. I’m realising that I’ve still got years of learning this craft ahead of me.
PP AM Final Cover
When I wrote Shadow People for the NaNoWriMo, I got very excited about the whole “write on through without editing” thing, but now I’m thinking that this isn’t such a great idea. Maybe getting it pretty well near perfect as you write it is slower, but you have a lot less chance of problems with grammar or plot sneaking through to the final result. With Shadow People 2 growing nicely, all my previous scribbles are getting makeovers and tweaks too. I’m hoping for the first week in August to launch all my new and improved books. That’s if I survive that long. And if I don’t, I’ll be spending my spectral evenings visiting whoever’s chanting my name, while tossing eye of newt and toenail of toad into their bubbling cauldron. The swine!

Till next time friends. Which should be shortly.

A Bird In The Hand Shouldn’t Be

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I read that after the Harry Potter phenomenon, children all over wanted owls as pets. This had me remembering how I cringed when the movie Paulie came out. It’s story about a parrot that talks and thinks like a human, and finds his way home after all sorts of tribulations – blah blah blah, and so on. The reason for my cringing was because I knew that parents all over the world would be off to the nearest pet shop to buy the most expensive parrot they could afford for their little darling. I also knew that ninety nine percent of those birds would spend the rest of their lives locked in cages in dingy corners, being given crap to eat – if they were lucky, and probably covered every time they fancied a shout. Parrots love a good shout – they think it sounds cool. I understand that people don’t just suddenly decide that they like the idea of abusing and neglecting some poor creature for the rest of its days. They just don’t realise what they’re taking on. These movies give unrealistic impressions of these animals, and parents cater to the whims of the children that they love. There are also some people that really couldn’t give a damn, but those sad sacks are another story altogether and generally a waste of oxygen only. Now it occurs to me that my sharing of my feathered flock’s antics might encourage someone to sally forth to buy themselves a parrot, or worse still, go and hoik some wild baby out of a tree somewhere. I wouldn’t want that sort of thing earning me black crosses on my karma. So…

My parrots are eighteen and sixteen years old respectively. They could very easily expect to live another fifty years failing some horrible accident. They are therefore a major consideration in my will. Personally, though I love them with all my heart, having had them for so long has taught me that I really shouldn’t have them at all. Nobody should purposely set out to have any sort of bird live anywhere other than in their natural environment. The weavers being here came from a choice between them being dead or having a life indoors with me. They have a very good life, so my choice was fine. I’m at home pretty much all the time, I try and make sure that nothing can hurt them, and they get on with their crazy little existences just fine. None of my birds has ever been caged for a minute of their lives, and they eat rather better than most humans, so while not ideal, this is alright. My birds do exactly what they want and have the run of the house. They yell, chew, play, and zoom around. They get three fresh meals a day, have piles of assorted seeds, nuts, fruit, salads, veggies, dry dog food, bowls of cereal, water to drink and to bath in, and marshmallows all over the place. They’re particularly fond of marshmallows and cheese. They also eat meat – bacon and sausages being favourites. In the wild they wouldn’t eat these things. I know that it sounds excessive, but in the wild they would get to choose what they want to eat, and those choices would include protein in the forms of bugs and worms as well as seeds, fruit and greenery. Parrots in the wild don’t perch on sticks when they sleep. They generally sleep in hollows in trees. They’re pretty heavy birds so it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to be on their feet twenty four hours a day forever. They need somewhere comfy to sleep. They mate for life and are the most caring of parents too. Such social guys should never be kept alone in a cage for their lives. It’s cruel. I doubt that there are too many people that treat birds as I do, although I’m sure there are a couple. They make a mess, a noise, chew holes in pretty much everything, and need as much love and attention as your average three year old human, if not more. I don’t mind these things, but that’s just me, and I do rather love my feathered flock.

Jelly Sunshine

Please don’t buy a live creature unless you really have its best interests at heart, and are sure that you can give it the best possible care. If you find a wild creature that you think is really cute, but know you don’t have the time to care for, take it to a sanctuary, or if necessary a vet to be put down. If you’ve already made the mistake of buying a bird that proved a little more difficult to care for than you realised, again, take it to a sanctuary, or find it a home with someone who knows how to care for it – and wants to. Remember that a parrot is very likely to outlive you. And if you do have any sort of bird as a pet, try and remember that of all the creatures on this planet they were specifically designed to fly. Why take that away from them? Would you cage your cat or dog? No? Why cage a bird then just because you can? Please don’t ever lock a bird in a cage just to look at or say “Hello Pretty Polly” to now and then. He’s alive, far from stupid, and not an ornament. Don’t feed him irregularly on only seeds or expect him to drink stale water. He deserves fresh food as often as you would have, in a variety that he would have access to if he was not behind bars. That cockatiel that scampers madly up and down is exhibiting the results of mental disturbance from being locked up all his life, not cuteness. And don’t ever expect a child to understand any of these things. It’s your responsibility. If you bought it, you make sure that it has the life that it deserves. Or as close to anyway. Otherwise take it to someone who could do better.

Jelly Wing