Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cockatiel feng shui

For several weeks, we've been working on the window in our current living room. This required moving the birdcage next to the bookshelves.

Our cockatiel, who loves small spaces, discovered he could crawl behind a row of books. It was quite neat to watch him scoot into and pop up out of that space. The tap-tapping as he pecked against the bookshelf, the sounds of paper we'd given him being chewed up, and the long strings of happy "awk-awk-awk-awk" were really cute.

However, he was overcome with a fierce need to defend this space from all comers. Since he accessed the bookshelf from the top of his cage, this was also an area he defended. If he was in the cage, we could handle him normally; but on top of the cage, watch out. Whenever we walked near (not even necessarily intending to interact with him), he would jump onto us and bite any exposed skin he could find. Hard.

A few days ago, we finished our work on the window and moved his cage away from the bookshelf. Since then, neither of us has even been threatened with a bite. He spends much less time looking angry (somewhat skinny, crest laid flat) - not just with us, but with the parakeet, too - and more time looking contented (fluffy, crest halfway up). We miss the entertainment of his time behind the books; but he's now picked up an old habit of falling asleep on us. It's a good tradeoff.

It's amazing what a little furniture arrangement can do. Then again, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that parrots are affected by feng shui. After all, some argue that they invented tai chi.

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