This blogger had to agree with the article in the Yoboogle Newsfeed, Parrots Are a Lot More Than ‘Pretty Bird’, because at my mother’s house, there was a female Doube Yellow-Headed Amazon of undetermined age, named Froot Loop. The researcher was right about wreaking havoc on their efforts to study them also. My study only lasted about six years, but there was a lot of information to draw from.
Bonding with their caregivers. At first, Fruit Loop, only bonded with one of its former owners, not her original. My sister’s former boyfriend said she had another name too, Polly. His youngest son was her favorite. He named her. She followed him on the floor when he was younger. She copied everything he did. She loved being around preschool aged children. She bonded with my sister and then my mother, but never me. She enjoyed watching anything with children on television, especially “The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.”
Picking up strange phrases. It amazed me how many words she was able to pick up. Froot Loop’s vocabulary was diverse when she came to my mother’s house more than 20 years ago. One of the phrases she learned from me was, “What a jerk!”, drawing out the last syllable. A throwback from a comment made when writing a short story about a Valentine’s Day dance that went awry. My sister got her to call herself a jerk once. ‘Pretty Bird’ was one of her phrases. My brother wanted to scare the poor bird to death or teach her to swear like a sailor. A family friend said that the kids got a kick out of hearing this, but that bird never repeated bad words, even when her owner’s friends used them. One pet shop owner withheld food to get their bird to stop swearing. No one would adopt it until then.
Their almost ‘human’ diet. Froot Loop’s diet was as diverse as her vocabulary. She ate everything in the cabinet, except chocolate and milk. She loved French Fries, Graham crackers, Nilla Wafers and fruit of any kind. She even ate potato chips and Doritos, but had to soften them by soaking them in her water dish first. If anyone pulled anything from the cabinet where the chips and cookies were and she saw, one heard her begging word which was ‘popcorn’. Since she didn’t like me, she didn’t get anything eaten by me either.
Her antics One thing hated by me was having to clean up Froot Loop’s tray with all the droppings in it. It was probably payback for my not sharing any food with her. Every time a meal was fixed by me, especially breakfast, and eaten at the counter, that bird would take a bath.This meant my removing the tray at the bottom of her cage with all the droppings in it, replacing it with newspaper, making sure she had enough water and sifting through the litter to clean it. It amazed me that my stomach held out. Sometime, the odor from the tray was over powering. The first time she took a bath, her owner got wetter than she did because he teased her a lot. My sister got stuck cleaning the cage out once. It was so bad, she had to use the outside hose to clean it.
Other than liking children at the house and on television, Froot Loop loved to entertain herself and others. My sister placed a mirror behind her cage so she could see herself. That crazy bird was all in the mirror saying hi real funny with her feathers all puffed out. It made us all laugh.She pretended to soar when she heard the vacuum cleaner. Sometimes she met my mother where she heard the sound. In the middle bedroom. If anyone used the kitchen phone, she whistled her cat call. If one left the kitchen, she got as loud as a foghorn because she wanted attention. At ten in the morning, that sound was a bit much. At other times, she made us all laugh, rolling on her back at the bottom of the cage and hanging upside down. Sometime she would face the wall and speak in a low murmur like she was possessed.