Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why you might see my brother climbing trees

The following is an anecdote written by my brother Ryan, seen below with his Triton Cockatoo, Cupid.
Well, I decided to go with the real short crew/buzz cut for the balance of the summer. So I did. When I got to school, the scarlet macaw I had to feed basically thought I was a completely different person and hissed and tried to bite at me through the cage. I was also not wearing my normal EATM uniform because it was a work day.

Then, when I got home, I approached Cupid's cage just like I usually do to say 'hello'. Her crest went up and she headed to the back of the cage. I thought she was just being a bit nervous, but she was actually totally spooked out. So, when I opened the cage door, she hit the floor in no time flat and flapped out onto the ground. I didn't want to scare her more, so I didn't grab her, but then she flat took off--from the ground! She went up over the backyard fence and out of sight. I headed out to go look for her and couldn't find her anywhere. I figured she couldn't have gone far because she barely made it over the fence and swooped low once she did and I hadn't seen her fly up anywhere so I was totally baffled. And, naturally, since she probably could see me from wherever she was hiding, she didn't call out like she usually does because she didn't want me to know where she was! So, I headed back inside and took a nap.

I awoke to a knock at the front door from my neighbor across the street. She had seen Cupid and wanted to let me know. So I went out with her and she showed me the shrub she was sitting on. So, I walked back inside to get some cashews. When I came around the corner again and looked at Cupid again (from like 50 yards) she could tell I was after her and flew up into a tall pine tree across the street. I went over and located her with the neighbor and her husband, children and children's friends and then proceeded to ponder the situation. I realized that she was spooked by my appearance and, because that was aversive to her, she would not fancy my chasing her up a tree unless she knew I had friendly intentions. So, I went back to my house with the kids stationed on the grass at the base of the tree to keep an eye on her (four 7 & 8 year old girls). I changed into my regular EATM uniform (which is normally what she sees me in when I come home) and found a hat to put on. I came back out with my ladder and bamboo retrieval pole and then proceeded to call her name, whistle my tune to her and get her attention. She signaled that she knew it was me then by doing her head bob and making happy noises.

So, I told the kids to keep an eye on her in case she spooked again and set the ladder up to get to the first branch of the pine tree. I had to do a bit of scouting out of this particular tree beforehand. Kind of hard to describe. If you saw it you would understand. Anyway, this whole time the kids are calling Cupid's name and saying, "Wow, this is just like Animal Rescue on Animal Planet" and asking me why I cut my hair, that I should wear a wig and how I was going to climb down. So, I did my best to answer their questions as I scaled the tree--bamboo pole in hand. I had to reach way way out, but Cupid did recognize me and walked on to the pole without much coaxing and got to my hand. I tossed the pole down to the kids (much to their delight) and then proceeded to climb down the tree--one handed.

After making it back on the ground, I was met with cheers from the kids and sat down on the grass with them to show them Cupid up close and answer another bunch of questions and listen to their stories. Meanwhile, two friends from the zoo drove by and stopped in the middle of the road to see what I was up to, so I walked over with Cupid and the kids to say 'hi'. While in the middle of the street, another car coming the other way had a recent EATM graduate who also stopped to see what was up and her boyfriend hopped in the shotgun seat right afterwards (she was coming to pick him up). After that I excused myself saying that Cupid should probably go home now since she had had quite an adventure.

Something similar to this happens at least once a week. I am convinced that before I move out I will have climbed every tree within a quarter mile of Cupid's cage. No joke.

Here I am with my brother's bird


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