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Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Typical Day

Blue’s average day goes something like this. At about 5:30 am, Blue wakes up and quietly waits. My girlfriend Kate gets up first and Blue spends several hours with her as she does the cages and gets ready for work. He loves to be part of this morning routine. He watches as she crushes up nuts for the other birds and hands him treats. All the while, he softly talks to her. Sorry, no 6:00am pics of my Girlfriend allowed here. I tried that already. At 8:00 am, Blue is transferred to me for care. He takes a shower with me and hangs with me while I get ready in the bathroom. One of the cutest shows of affection is when I get up for the first time in the morning. I will walk in the room where he sits on Kate’s shoulder. When Blue sees me for the first time of the morning, he always looks at me excitedly and peeps. This peep he only makes when he sees me for the first time in the morning. It is like “Hey Dad, I’m right here!”

Blue loves the shower, and the sound of any running water. He also loves the bright lights in the bathroom. He trills and dances on my shoulder as I struggle to awake, now its coffee time. We play in the backyard for about an hour. Blue will always do his song and dance first thing in the AM once we get outside. We play with toys and he sings to my hand signals.

If I am working at home, Blue is always with me, at times I might put him in his cage to organize his nuts and rest. If I leave, I have to decide if I can bring Blue. Blue loves the car. I think he thinks were both flying. Blue will not leave my shoulder outside, even if a dog is barking at him. However, wherever I go dozens of people approach me. They want to see him, take pictures, hear the story and listen to his trill, which he does if you clap.

As you can imagine, I like to show Blue to people, especially children, but it can get a little much. Nevertheless, I take him more often then not. I make sure he gets out on an adventure three times a week at least. In addition, Blue is often not allowed in a coffee shop and certainly no restaurants. Therefore, I take him to places where he is already known, the bank, the pharmacy and the post office are all big fans of Blue.

Blue also gets outside in nature daily. He loves to sit in “his tree” and play. He feels safe from passing big birds.

In short, Blue needs and gets allot of attention. He can be both loving and playful and fierce and playful. He still has a wild side, and he needs both kinds of attention. He likes to play tug of war or pound his beak into my fingers. He cannot bite hard enough to draw blood so I let him pound on my fingertips, which have calluses from playing guitar.

He is jealous of inanimate objects that take away attention from him, the phone, my computer, or a book. All of these things make him go into protest mode.

Blue keeps his cage a certain way. He stashes nuts around, moving them from place to place, always keeping a watchful eye know one sees where he is hiding things.

I often am asked why did I not raise Blue to be released back into the wild. Here is the quick answer.
To raise an infant bird like Blue to reintroduce into the wild takes allot of work, some of which was impossible for me. They cannot interact nor have any contact from humans. Wearing a glove, you would feed the infant every half hour without him even seeing your face, just the feeder tube. This requires you to be home for three months and never even look at your bird.

Once the bird can fly out by itself, you can begin the steps of releasing him. This requires a completely different step, needing allot of time and attention without the interaction. It is not very successful and was not a possibility for me. It was hard enough, bringing him everywhere I went for those three months, feeding him his special diet every half an hour. He would flap his wings fast and cry as I raised the feeding tube to his mouth. Eight years later he still does the “baby flap” when he is very happy or excited.