Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The face of evil

Here it is, my friends.


Don't let the sunshiny yellow head with the rosy red cheeks fool you.  This is Leon the cockatiel and he is a bastard.

I've decided that it's been far too gloomy on this blog of late, so I thought I'd share something a little more upbeat and entertaining.  By way of background, neither M nor I are "bird people".  If anything, I was well on the road to crazy cat lady status before M and I started dating.  For his part, M was pet-less until a woman at his office came in one day looking for someone to take a bird off her hands.  She apparently already had one, and had bought a second hoping that they'd be great companions.  Unfortunately it had worked out quite the opposite, and one bird had terrorized the other so badly that she needed to separate them.  M, being the kind soul that he is, decided he'd help her out by taking Leon (already so named, pronounced "Lay-on", the french way) off her hands.

My encounters with Leon were pretty limited while M and I were dating.  We lived in separate cities for a while, and the bird was usually in his cage when I was over so he'd basically just sing and chatter a little bit.  I may even have thought he was cute at one point.  That was before M and I got married and I lived with the bird full-time.  It was then that his inner demon came out.

If you Google cockatiels, you'll find plenty of sites talking about what great pets they are.  How they love to sit on your hand and have their heads scratched, or how they're really smart and can learn certain songs or phrases and repeat them back to you.  Not this guy.  Nope.  Simply put, he is an asshole.  Put a hand anywhere near him and he'll hiss at you and try to bite it.  He sings sometimes, but more often than not he's just shrieking like a maniac.  Some weekends it starts at daybreak and doesn't let up until one of us goes downstairs to let him out of his cage.  We call it the avian alarm clock and there's no goddamn snooze button.

Once freed, he's even worse.  His cage is full of toys, and yet there's nothing more interesting to him than chewing cables.  Earphones, laptops, you name it, he's destroyed it.  Last night in the ten minutes it took me to put fish in the oven and make a salad, he chewed the P and Enter keys off of my work Blackberry.  He also shreds any kind of paper we might leave lying around (grocery list?  Yummy!  Tax documents?  Even yummier!), leaving little piles of confetti that he then walks through and scatters everywhere.  And what he doesn't chew, he shits on.  Like clockwork, every 30 minutes he drops a little bomb somewhere and if you aren't right there to see where it is and clean it up, guaranteed you will either sit in it later or he will walk in it and track his shitty little bird feet everywhere.

Sure, he sings a little bit.  Nothing recognizable, mind you, just some tuneless whistling like you might hear from your drunk uncle.  He also "talks" a bit, although it's pretty garbled and we have no idea what he's saying.  We've tried to teach him songs and words to no avail, but the one sound he did manage to pick up and copy?  Us having sex.  Yeah, he pulls that one out when there's company over.

His latest trick is masturbating on things.  Apparently, it's not possible to "fix" a cockatiel.  He's pretty tiny, so I understand that finding his balls would be sure to be a challenge.  But the result is that every now and again (and I assume now because it's springtime), he goes through a bit of a period where he gets himself riled up and tries to rub one out on any fuzzy object you might leave lying around.  We had to hide one fleece blanket that was really feeling the love.  As I began typing this earlier, he was romancing the furry top of one of my boots.  I won't even try to describe what a cockatiel looks like when he whacks off, but suffice it to say that there's a lot of tailfeather waggling and weird bitey beak shit going on.  It's not pretty.  And don't you dare try to interrupt him.  He flew at my head after that one. 

The only weapon we have in our arsenal is...the TV remote.  For some reason that I will never understand, this bird loves the TV remote like it's his long lost best friend.  Need to get him to stop shrieking or calm down?  Show him the remote and he'll talk to it like he hasn't seen it in years.  Need to get him in his cage?  He'll be so transfixed by it you can get him to climb on your hand and put him in there.  It's ridiculous, but if we hadn't discovered this little bit of cockatiel kryptonite we'd still be chasing him.  

So there you have it.  Our secret shame.  My husband and I are slaves to a 4-ounce dictator. And the best part?  His reign of terror has barely begun.  These mini-dinosaurs routinely live well into their 20s, and this guy is barely 8.  Let the good times roll.

23 comments:

  1. Ha ha! I seriously laughed out loud through your entire post. Thank you.. I needed that today :)

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  2. I am cracking up that he mimics you having sex when company is over. I am not a bird person at all. I don't get it. They aren't fun, cuddly pets. Good for you for sticking it out, though. I think I might have found some sort of bird rescue to give him to by now.

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  3. I laughed so hard I snorted. My mother-in-law has an evil African grey parrot that she frequently threatens to leave us when she dies. All I have to say is over my dead body.

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    1. Good Lord no, don't let that happen. Bury it with her.

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  4. HILARIOUS! I am dying laughing at this. Mini dinosaur.... You're a riot!

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    1. It's true! When you get up close and see their little claw-feet and their scaly eyelids, you can TOTALLY see that they're descended from dinosaurs!

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  5. laughing so hard I am nearly crying....hysterical!

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  6. I laughed and nodded in sympathy throughout this whole post. I had my own feathery terror called Gilbert (also a cockatiel). I'd had such a great experience with my first cockatiel (a female) that I foolishly decided to get two more - Gilbert and Emily. They were a bonded pair and kept to themselves for the most part. But when Emily died, Gilbert became unbearable. Nothing made that bird happy and the shrieking was out of control. Over the years I had tried to hand tame him, but he would have none of it. He hated people and that was that. So, he lived alone in his cage, with no interaction with another living thing (his choice) and screamed at us day and night. Finally we just couldn't take it anymore and had to find a new home for him. We found someone with other birds to take him. I hope the little jerk has managed to make a new friend or two and is happier there than he was here.

    I wonder if there's a bird whisperer out there that could help you...

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  7. Oh thank you. This is hilarious. The cockatiel who mimics sex sounds... I'm going to have that in a play or a screenplay someday.

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  8. EW! I just... ich. I could have lived my whole life not knowing that birds masturbate.

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  9. haha! i don't know what is funnier - bird masturbation or his love for the remote! thanks for sharing!

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  10. You have just described my worst nightmare. If I were you I would accidentally leave a window open.

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    1. Don't think that hasn't been threatened around here. As has roasting, boiling, and braising. There are also two neighbourhood cats that are fascinated by him. We'll often come home to one or the other sitting outside the patio doors, staring in at the cage. They'd be happy to take him off our hands, I'm sure.

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  11. LOL. It's funny that your bird mimics your sex sounds and masturbates- but that's coming from an outsider. I'm so glad that our dogs are not terrors!!

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  12. Omg this was HILARIOUS! We had a bunny once, Pudgy, that would hump everything in sight -- especially our ankles when we were on the toilet and couldn't move. It was so gross. I actually read a long story recently about how birds should never be pets at all because, as a species, they require a flock and constant flight. Maybe if Leon gets too nasty you can find an avian sanctuary for him? You would have much less trouble with a cat, that's for sure! (Also, cats can't imitate you having sex... hahaha...)

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    1. I think, even though he clearly hates us, he still considers us his flock. That's why he shrieks if he can't see us and flies after us when we leave the room. As for cats, I had to give mine up (to my folks) when we got married...M is badly allergic (not just sniffles, but seriously can't breathe) so cats are out. :(

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  13. This was hilarious - love it! Are we all just slaves to our pet's whims? When our dogs are going nuts, we call them into the kitchen for 'water cookies' - aka ice cubes, which for some reason they think are treats.

    OMG the image of a bird masturbating will not get out of my head anytime soon. Good luck overthrowing the dictator.

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    1. "Water cookies"??? Freakin' awesome.

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  14. Oh my gosh! Every sentence! Dying with laughter! Oh my gosh he sounds like a pain in the ass, but you do a good job making him hilarious!

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    1. At least he's good for something.

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  15. So funny! Every last part. My mom loves birds. We had several growing up. We had a parakeet that would actually play cards with us! We also had a cockatiel that was just about the dumbest bird I ever saw. They are supposed to be able to learn and talk a little. This was one didn't, but at least it wasn't consumed by sex! Haha! We also had a parrot that hated everyone but my mom. Nobody else could go near him.

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