Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One bird-brained blogger (try saying that 5x!)

I love birds. I've always had an attraction to them. As a matter of fact, I wanted to BE one when I grew up. Weird, huh? Other kids had aspirations to be a nurse, or a teacher, or a mommy. Me? I wanted to FLY, baby!

I wonder where the expression, "eats like a bird" came from. Who would want to eat like a bird? Seriously. They eat bugs, and wiggly worms, and regurgitated mommy food, and little stones (true fact) to help them digest their food, AND yes, of course, the little grains of seed. None of that sounds appetizing to me.

I love the movie Alfred Hitchock's, "The Birds". The.Best.Movie.Ever. I love birds even when they are behaving badly.

We had a parakeet growing up. For the life of me, I can't remember where we got it or it's name. But that that doesn't surprise me, since our cat was named "Kitty", and our goldfish was named "Goldy", so chances are, the bird was called "Birdie". I know, priceless. (We also had a dog named "Skeeter" - I wonder who was ingenious enough to come up with a name besides "doggie"?)

We taught Birdie to say "pretty bird", and possibly "hello" (my mind's a little fuzzy at this point.)

photo courtesy of

He had blue feathers and stayed in his cage in the corner of the living room. That is, most of the time.

I used to say that the dog could chase the cat, who would go after the bird, who would eat the fish.

Some of that came true. The bird got out of his cage one day (?) and the cat attacked it. I'd like to think Kitty was being playful with Birdie. Either that or Kitty was playing badminton and thought Birdie WAS indeed the "birdie" and took her best shot.

Birdie ended up with some injuries under his wing. So my mother grabbed what she always used on us: zinc ointment. She lathered it on the wound and called it a day. Birdie survived.

I don't know how long Birdie lived, but he died when I was in high school. I was devastated not only about Birdie's death, but also when I found out that my mother wrapped him up in aluminum foil and tossed him in the garbage, like, well, garbage! I remember crying in biology class, and when my fellow classmates asked me what was the matter and I told them that my bird had died and how my mother disposed of him, they laughed their butts off. One kid even drew a picture similar to this:

Note the feet sticking up in the air. Cruel, I know.


I was newly married and lived in an apartment that didn't allow pets. But birds didn't count, did they?

So I bought two yellow parakeets and named them Sonny and Sarah. I loved my two little birds. Even up to the day I tried to kill them.

Let me explain.

Sonny's nails were getting quite long. I thought, "Heck I can cut them thar nails! Easy peasy!"

I brought the birdcage into the bathroom and closed the door.

I reached into the birdcage and Sonny trustingly hopped onto my finger, all the while I talked to him in my soothing voice.

I clasped him in my left hand, and wielded the clippers in my right hand. Little did I know that a bird's nails are similar to humans and I cut Sonny's nails way too short - all the way down to the "quick". I think I cut two nails like this before the blood began to flow. And flow.

He wiggled out of my hand and flew furiously around the small bathroom, spattering blood everywhere. He started out looking like this...

photo courtesy of

And ended up looking like this....

photo courtesy of

Only without the crest on top. He was THAT red, covered with blood. PLUS he was sending some kind of signal to Sarah, who was still in the cage.

"Get out NOW! The woman's CRAZY! I'm going to BLEED TO DEATH! She plans to TORTURE us!"

Sarah was going ballistic in the cage. I was crying hysterically, trying to catch Sonny, calm him down, and stop the bleeding. I finally caught him and put him back in the cage. It was a Sunday and the local vet place was closed. I called the 24 hour hot line and confessed what I had done to my poor bird. The nice man was kind enough not to laugh at me and recommended using a styptic pencil (which I didn't have) or to scrape off the tip of some matches and then dip the bird's nails in it to stop the bleeding. So that's what I did. I kept an eye on Sonny all day, and even though he swayed while clinging to his perch from losing so much blood, he survived the whole ordeal. And I NEVAH cut my birds nails again!

Boy this post turned out a lot different than I initially planned. I was only going to post photos of birds that I have taken over the past few years, and then all this past history of birds came vomiting out of my mind. So, if I haven't lost you yet, without further ado, here are some bird photos for your enjoyment:

Boat-tail Grackle. Most people think these birds are a nuisance; I love them. They can mimic up to 50 different calls, some of them quite comical. They are everywhere in the Southwest. (Males are dark, females are light brown)

Cactus Wren - I admire that that they can even LAND on a saguaro cactus. They must have TOUGH feet! They build their homes inside of these cactus.

These are peach-faced lovebirds that are now spreading throughout the Phoenix area. I was delighted to count up to 10 of these beauties at one bird feeder in the park where we stayed in AZ.

When I'm up in Wisconsin by my sister's trailer, both she and her neighbor have lots of feeders out to attract birds like this rose-breasted grosbeak,

or these yellow goldfinches.

And we were so happy when a pair of bluebirds moved into the little home next door. Here's momma bird

Momma bird peeking her head out before leaving the nest

And she's off!

Then poppa bird did HIS part

This is a barn swallow who took over a bluebird house. I think he was trying to win over the female swallow in the next bluebird house. He wouldn't budge no matter how close I got to him.

Looks like somebody can't read (taken in central IL)

This is a stellar jay, the west coast's version of a blue jay.

Last year around this time our trailer was attacked by a killer cardinal. It was quite funny and amused me for hours. Click here to watch a video and read the post.

My best photo is this big old Raven that was sitting on the fence in Bryce Canyon. He was pretty accustomed to people (sadly) and hung around the park hoping for people to throw him some scraps, even though the signs said, "PLEASE DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS!" It did give me a great photo op, though!

Sorry this rambled on and on. I need a nap just from WRITING it, so go ahead, get a little shut eye if you want. It's okay.


Anonymous said...

the pics are amazing....and the part about sunny telling sarah to get out, made me

for a different kind of girl said...

Great photos! I'm hoping the boys and I can make some birdfeeders this summer and maybe (but doubtfully) get some good photos. There are some goldfinches fluttering around our backyard from time to time I love seeing.

And I do love birds...up to about 4:30 a.m., when they start waking up and are loud as hell outside my bedroom window!

Gail said...

Great bird shots and funny stories.
Sometimes we learn our lessons the hard way.

Are the peach-faced love birds native or a breed that has naturalized? They look so tropical.

BigSis said...

My son and I just finished a series where the little boy wanted to be a bird when he grew up. The adults told him he couldn't, so he decided to be a "bird breather" (really bird breeder, but so funny!)

Bossy Betty said...

Loved your stories! My parakeet last for about a week. I found him dead under a plastic toy ferris wheel. Shudder......

Love your bird pictures! As you know, I like taking pictures of birds too. I just recently got one of a road runner. I just love looking in the view finder to see if I actually captured the image!

Love the raven. He looks like he might be waiting for you to ignore those darn signs!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

awww.... beautiful pictures of the birds.

i got a good laugh about Birdie talking. my sister had a kind of parrot that talked - and made sense. she also had some cats and one time she heard the bird saying something and turned around to see her cat stalking the bird, which happened to be on the outside of her cage. The parrot was saying "kitty kitty kitty Help!"

Brian Miller said...

some great pics...and the story of the nail cutting, sorry it had me rolling just picturing it...

Lindy MacDuff said...

Oh, what stories! Glad Sonny survived. Poor fella - poor you! Really great captures of all your bird photos. Loved 'em all!

wenn said...

beautiful pictures of the birds! i simply love them!

misslynda said...

That was too funny - - - even though it was supposed to be traumatic to you - - about the toe-nail cutting. Don't put it on your resume if you ever apply to be a manicurist!

agus said...
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becky said...

i like the cactus wren. weird how that bird kept "crashing" your home.

SquirrelQueen said...

Oh my goodness Pat, you have quite the history with our little feathered friends. Glad to hear Sonny (and you) survived the ordeal.

Great shots of all the little birds.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Pat I didn't fall asleep b/c the first part of the post had me laughing out loud (Bill always wonders if I've lost my mind!). And your bird pictures are wonderful. But I've gotta' tell you girl that for many of us ordinary mortals (photobloggers) that would have made 40 or 50 posts ;>). Not having the brilliant and hilarious mind that you do, I'd of hoarded those photos for days when I came up dry.

Loved em all! Thanks