This morning, I came downstairs with a basket of laundry to hang on the line only to stop and stare at the bird cage beside the back door. The birds, you see, were in a rather acrobatic mood this morning. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s because in Eastern Standard Bird time, they’re teenagers. Or maybe they just did it to amuse me.
And they did amuse me.
This sweet little girl, the first of the four siblings to leave the nest, was swinging away as if her life depended on it. Every time the swing started to slow down, she would immediately jump off, fly around in a circle like a demented airplane coming in for a landing, then land just a tiny bit low on the swing’s perch, thus setting it to swinging madly once more.
If her brother didn’t sneak onto the swing when she wasn’t looking, that is.
Every so often, she would stop swinging and instead hop from side to side, scrunching herself as far into each corner of the perch as she could. This didn’t result in a better swing, but it did prevent the pesky brother problem.
Every girl with brothers needs a good pesky brother prevention strategy, don’t you think? I know I certainly did.
With three other siblings, she needs to use her pesky brother prevention strategy a lot. Wherever she goes, they follow. See?
She got on the ladder, they got on the ladder. (She then flapped her wings in a perfectly hilarious avian version of “harumpf!” and turned around so they were suddenly all stuck socializing with her bum.)
Later in the day, she climbed back onto the ladder only to have her brothers follow her again. Once more she flapped out an annoyed sound. Once more she turned her back on them in annoyance. Only this time, she gave me the look. You know the one. The one that says “Can’t you make them stop?!!”
Parents need pesky children prevention strategies, too. No matter how good the kids, nor how much their parents love them, every parent needs a little away time. Salt and Phoenix’s favourite perch is the food stick that hangs down from the roof of the cage. Most times when I walk by the cage, I find one or the other of them hanging from the food stick and nibbling away. Sometimes, they set the stick to swinging with a too-speedy dismount as they rush to fill a sqwawking beak or four. (Teenaged birds being so similar to teenaged humans, they, too cry loudly for their parents to do what they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves).
Or maybe Salt and Phoenix spend their time perched on the food bar just looking around a bit and sending up a silent prayer of thanks that the babies haven’t mastered the art of clinging to the food stick yet. Any small bit of breathing room is a blessing, after all, and with four loud and demanding teenagers in a rather small house, I’d want to escape too.
But with Eastern Bird Time being so much faster than Eastern Standard Time, it was inevitable that the pesky broody teenagers would quickly grow in both size and strength and bravery and before you could say ‘Bob’s your uncle’ (and I have not one but two Bob’s for uncles, so I’m allowed to say it twice), those pesky, broody teenagers figured out how to not fall off the food stick.
So there you have it: a bird kabob. Four birds on a stick rolled in honey and dipped in seedy goodness. That’s poor Papa Salt at the top, moaning that his precious perch has been invaded while Mama Phoenix sits on a nearby perch and shrieks things like “Don’t peck your brother!” and “Hold on tight, dear ones!” and “Chew with your beak closed! Were you raised in a barn?”
Is it wrong that I find this vastly amusing? Is it wrong-er that I find it even more amusing when one of them falls off amidst startled sqwawks and a mad flapping of wings? Or that Sugar can inevitably be found sticking her bum in her brothers’ faces?
Silly birds on a stick: entertainment for mothers everywhere.