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Reajusting

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This morning, Sophia phoned the Parrot Foundation. It seems that I am still a bit shy and cautious, but I have started to readjust already. I am quiet now and have been eating a little. After the quarantine period, I will move to the largest aviary in the world (see picture below). From then on, I will have so many new things to experience and friends to make, that I won't be able keep up my diary. I wish to thank all my real life friends and Internet fans for their love and support these three years. I am sure Sophia will continue to run this site and make people aware of what it means to live with a parrot, but this will be the last entry of my own diary as seen through the eyes of an African Grey Parrot. Thanks again, everyone! Come and visit me if you can, you are always welcome at the Foundation Dutch Parrot Refuge. I am sure you will like it here, whether you belong to the Psittaciformes or Homo Sapiens!


End of Dandy's Diary

Trying to Cope

The humans are still in a gloomy mood. Every moment of the day they picture me in all my favorite places and imagine they hear my voice. They keep wondering how I am doing and if I have started to make friends already. They feel as if they have given up their own child and wonder if I feel betrayed. Still, they know that they have made the right decision taking me there. They realize that I will like it better to be around my own kind. I will lead a busy life in a the largest aviary in the world, instead of pining away in a living room. Without me knowing it I was not happy, so my family knew they could not be so selfish as to keep me there solely for their own pleasure. Nevertheless, at this moment I miss you people so much! Don't leave me here, take me back home, please! Ah, there is an answer back, as if by telepathy: "We miss you too, Dandy! But we know we acted in your interest... soon you will be happier than you have ever been before!"

Traveling

Today, I have lived through enough emotions to last me a life time. Boy, has my life changed! It started normal enough: Jan and me woke Sophia up around nine and we went downstairs. Then, before I even knew what was happening, I found myself in a traveling cage and in the car! When we got to the Parrot Foundation, Sophia put me in a nice clean cage. There were some more birds; my next door neighbor happened to be another Grey! Naturally, I was much too shy to make acquaintances with him or her at this stage, but soon enough I will. When the humans had signed the papers and said their good-byes, Jan and Sophia burst out in tears. They know that it is for my own best and that they will visit me soon, but still they couldn't control their emotions. They just love me so much, so very much...

Big Decision

The family has made their final decision: tomorrow will be the Big Day. Nobody in the family has had any sleep last night, because they kept worrying about me all night long. Although for the first time in days I seem to be a little bit happier again, three days from now it will be New Year's Eve, with all the fire crackers that go with it. That would be enough to bring a huge relapse again. All in all, the humans are happy that my last evening with them has been a pleasant one. For the first time in days, they have heard my lovely sweet voice go through my entire vocabulary. I have eaten my tummy thick and round at that is a good thing too, because tomorrow morning I have to be ready to move... into a whole new life!

My Happiness

Although the worst of the crisis seems to be over, Jan, Hilke and Sophia are still discussion the possibility of taking me to the Parrot Foundation. They read about how parrots are treated there and how they recover from much worse circumstances than can't even imagine in my worst nightmares. Sophia can't bear the thought of letting me go from her life, but she realizes that it will be for my own good. Perhaps it will be the best solution for my happiness and after all, that is what is at stake here.

Lost Confidence

My depression is growing as my feathers are declining. It seems that I have lost all my confidence in life. When my family members leave the room, I cry for them and immediately start chewing my feathers. Sophia has searched the Internet and found the site of the Foundation Dutch Parrot Refuge. There, parrots can live in huge aviaries with lots of other birds and be happy for the rest of their lives. Would that be an option for me, perhaps temporary to gain confidence again?

What To Do?

All throughout my diary, I have honestly reported everything that went on in my life. Today, I heard Jan and Sophia discuss something that they have been discussing for that past few days: whether it wouldn't be better for me to find me another home, so that I can start afresh with a whole new life in new surroundings. Sophia has been in tears all day long, because she is afraid that I will end up the way a lot of parrots end up: moving from home to home and being abandoned from all of them in the end. Besides, who can take better care of me than my own humans, who have lovingly provided for me since I was a helpless little chick? No, moving to another family is definitely not an option. But what is? Something must be done... before it is to late!

Not Good

Sophia has had a couple of days free from work, so she could observe me a bit better. It is impossible to cheer me up and what is worse, I have seriously started to chew off every the feather on my chest. A completely bald spot has appeared where once I had a thick layer of feathers! This situation must end and soon, or else the whole family will end up in nervous breakdowns.

Depression

Right now, I am going through a difficult period. The hammering and drilling seems to have robbed me of my joy in life. I have always been a rather nervous bird, but right now, every sound from outside the house sets me off with a panic attack. Jan, Hilke and Sophia feel so sorry for me, but there doesn't seem to be anything that can cheer me up. Sophia has tried to trick me into my favorite games (go-fetch-the-object-I-throw and hear-me-bang-the-bell), but I just sit there and watch with apathy. I don't know what is wrong with me, but it seems I am having the bird's equivalent of a major depression...

Even More Noise

How long does it take to install a new kitchen in a house? Again, for the third day in a row, there was noise from the neighbors. Naturally, the humans understand it is necessary at times to improve the house, but it is driving me towards a nervous breakdown. I have seriously started to pick on my feathers. My whole chest, neck and back are covered with feathers that are fringed on the edges. Although the neighbors finally finished their job around three in the afternoon, every tiny sound sets me off flying wildly around my cage. My humans treat me as normally as possible and don't pay attention to my panic attacks so as not to encourage this behavior. Life with a parrot is not just a bed of roses...

More Panic

Half past nine in the morning... everything very quiet... Suddenly... a DRILLING in the concrete wall - followed by HAMMERING - followed by more DRILLING!!! My day was ruined already and it did not stop at that. I haven't eaten a bite since yesterday and all I do is climbing around in my cage, climbing, climbing... I am making the whole family crazy but myself most of all. This noisemaking must end, and soon!

Big Fright!!

If you live in a house on a row, it is inevitable that you hear the neighbor with their occasional odd jobs. Today of all days, they decided it was time to install a whole new kitchen. Being a parrot (and a neurotic one at that), I hated the constant drilling in the concrete walls and especially the hammering drove me crazy. When Sophia came home from work, she met one poor little shy bird and a very upset Jan... But tonight everything was quiet again so gradually, I became more quiet again.

Learning Phrases

Sophia is enjoying a day off work, oh joy of joys for me. I have been singing and chatting all morning. I am still practicing my "Hoe gaat het met jou?" (How are you?), which is extremely difficult for me. Just now, suddenly, Sophia heard it! Between all the "Hilke", "Haatcheeeeee" and "What's up?", suddenly I ALMOST said it: "Hoe gaat het met jou?" Everybody cheered and I was most proud of all. I have been saying it for the rest of day to try to get it just right.

Another Phobia

For the past few weeks, I have gradually developed a phobia for taking a bath. The one who has read my entire diary (whose name spells Nobody), may have seen this coming. At first I got afraid of the spray bottle until I really panicked upon seeing it, so the family switched to bathing me in the kitchen sink. After a while, I saw little pink elephants there too, so the past few weeks the family decided to give me a rest and not put me through it at all. Today, Sophia saw me trying to bathe in my drinking bowl, so she asked me if I wanted a bath. When she asked me to step up, I bit her! No, I really, definitely, absolutely refuse to even think about it. However, I am afraid that eventually the family will think up A Plan...

Feather Picking

Like I promised, here is a reflection of my life with the Van der Nents. I have grown into a stage-just-before-maturity-but-not-quite-fully-mature. Sometimes I have all the wisdom in the world and the next moment I am a cuddly little baby again. Unfortunately, I have picked up one Nasty Habit: feather picking. Although my family have tried anything, I can't stop it. It is just like nailbiting: once you start, you can't stop anymore... but my family still loves me and they always will!

The Big Oh Three

This is a special moment. Earlier this year, Sophia has reached the Big Three Oh. Today, I have reached the Big Oh Three! I am growing up fast and will soon reach full maturity. Later this month, I will contemplate about my life so far but now I will go to sleep. Good night!

More Maturity

Lately, I have started sleeping with my head tucked under my wing. Before, I just slept. Almost three years old, and still getting more mature every day! Needless to say Sophia, the faithful narrator of my adventures is proud enough to mention even this seemingly insignificant change in me...

Fuu Duut Duut!

Finally, I can whistle it: the entire Andy Griffith theme! Unfortunately, Sophia cannot record it right now, but soon the world will be able to hear the tune - and you should hear my improvisations!

Not Fair!

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I used to be a spoiled bird, one squeak out of me and my family ran for me. Today, that has changed a bit: I still get attention and toys, but on the very moment that I start asking for food, the family turns deaf and ignorant! They give me a toy instead, or a cuddle, but that's not what I mean... don't you understand folks? I want seeds! I finished the sunflower seeds and normally, that's the moment I get a new supply, but now I am stuck with all those tiny seeds that I have to work for. The world is as unfair a place as can be!


Change of Diet

Sophia and Hilke went to the pet shop to buy parrot food for me. The pet shop owner noticed that they had been there very often lately, so he asked them how much they feed me every day. They told him that they fill my food bowl some four times a day, as soon as I begin asking for it. The shop keeper was shocked! He said parrots have to finish all their food before they get a fresh supply! Hilke and Sophia were deeply shocked, so they told Jan as soon as they got home and they all made a solemn promise: from now on I only get seeds once a day, so that I take in all variety. Apparently, the little seeds are the most important and they were the ones the family always threw away...

Sleeping In

This morning, Sophia had a day off work. As usual, Jan and me went to her room around nine to can wake her up. We have done that as long as I am in this house and I still think it is a great morning ritual... although Sophia always moans that she would have liked to sleep a bit longer on her free days!

9/11

When Jan, Hilke and Sophia switched on the TV, instantly they were glued to the screen. This morning (afternoon for us here), four planes were hijacked and crashed into two buildings in the USA. Being an animal, I am not able to grasp such beastly and inhuman acts, but I sense the emotions in my family. What happened there today has shaken the whole world. My family's deepest thoughts are with the victims, in whatever form they may suffer.

Flu

I am the luckiest bird in the world: Sophia has the flu. Now don't call me mean; try to imagine how it is to have a sneezing, coughing, moaning and sighing human in your room all day long. Still don't get it? Apart from the company all day long, think of all the new sounds I can try to imitate! The best thing is: the more noise I make, the louder Sophia groans. Believe me, this is heaven for any parrot. Don't get well too soon, Sophia!

Ups & Downs

The ones that have followed my diary will know that life for (and with) a parrot is not always easy. For example, some months ago I started to panic and fly into the walls on every sound and I refused to go downstairs. During that time, I even started pulling my chest feathers! Fortunately, I have got over this extremely shy period and am back to my old cheerful self again. Only a big white patch on my chest reminds us all of my difficulties. So don't worry, it has passed and if it ever happens to me again, I am sure that the love and support of my family will pull me through it again...

Children

Sophia was playing her music and singing loudly along with me, when suddenly she noticed that we were not the only source of all the noise. She quieted down, and there it was: laughter and loud whistling of the Laurel and Hardy theme. It came from outside, right in front of the house. She opened the window and saw a group of young children. They told her that they stand there frequently to interact with me, Dandy! I knew it of course, but I don't tell every detail of my life to my family. They might think I am spoiled.

Multitasking

I am a multitasking bird! I'll explain why. Hilke likes to snap her fingers when she is whistling to me, and lately I have got the rhythm of snapping my beak when I am whistling! I love being a professional beak drummer; I enjoy jam sessions with anybody and swing the days away.

Lemonade You?

The pigeon has left... as I have gotten used to it, I am sure I will miss it. I wanted to let it know how I have made process with "How are you?" I can't say it right yet; it comes out as "Lemonade you?" Still, I can't understand why everybody roars with laughter when I ask such a polite question. I would say it is rather rude, don't you agree?

Talking to the Birds

Summer continues in the Netherlands, everybody is happy about it except the farmers and our neighbors (fortunately they are on holiday). I have been enjoying the fresh air AND I have got a feathered friend! For the past few days, Jan has been mothering a stray, hungry pigeon. At first he thought I would be jealous if he would be feeding the bird, but actually I like the company. I keep telling the pigeon "Come on!" "Do you love me?" and "Haaatcheeeee!" but it doesn't talk back...

Safely Outside

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The third day outside... and I love it!!! No more shackled and chained, but free - and safely surrounded by bars! For the first time in my life, ever, I have been singing and shouting on the top of my voice. Previously, I used to be a very quiet and shy bird outside. Everybody is happy that they made the right decision in getting me a second cage.


Brute Force

A whole day off for Sophia, good for her (and me)! It has been almost a month now since the family has bought this beautiful cage for me, but still I won't go nearer to it than at least a yard. So, today Jan and Sophia took bold action. Jan put the cage outside and Sophia took me, and without any mercy she put me in it! Everybody braced themselves for a major panic attack, but do you know what happened? Nothing at all.... I just sat very quietly in a corner of my new recreation home and let it all sink in. After an hour, Jan and Hilke took the cage inside again and I was allowed out.

How Are You?

In their peace treaty, Hilke and Sophia have settled to teach me "How are you?" The whole family is in anticipation how soon I will learn it....

Please Enter

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After two days, I trust my new cage enough to sit on Sophia's shoulder and peek shyly from behind her back. Hilke and Sophia try to show me how much fun they have playing with the toys that are hanging inside, but I will still have to come a long way before I am ready to enter it myself!


Lady's Fight

For the past few days, Sophia noticed that Hilke doesn't respond anymore when I call "Hilke!". Today, she mentioned that to Hilke. Do you know what Hilke replied? That she won't teach me another word, ever again! She said that if what she teaches isn't good enough, she won't mingle with me at all anymore. Sophia replied that that would be a bit drastic and took back some of her words that she said earlier this week. Both mother and daughter settled their differences; Hilke promised to talk to me again (after all, I am entire innocent here) and Sophia promised not to question the things that Hilke wants to teach me. Ah, those are the blessings of having two self-willed, headstrong ladies in one house... occasionally microwars are bound to happen!

Summer Cottage

I am the most spoiled bird in the entire world! In Sophia's living room, I have a large aviary. Today, I am the proud owner of a holiday cottage, downstairs in the family's living room! It is a large cage, so that I will be able to spend more time with Jan and Hilke when Sophia is at work. But... don't think I went right in it - parrots need more time to get used to new things. For now, the family has to be satisfied that I didn't panic when I saw this large new scary thing.

International

For the first time in my life, Hilke and Sophia have had an argument - about me! I will tell you how that happened: for a few weeks now, Sophia has anticipated that Hilke has been teaching me a new word in top secrecy. Actually, that is precisely what she did. So why did they have an argument? Today, I proudly said my new word: "International". International! Sophia was furious! She figured that is the most ridiculous word ever to have been taught to a parrot. Hilke reasoned that is would be nice to teach me tong twisters, but Sophia thought this is a complete waste of my energy and that I should learn something useful, like "Hello" and "How are you?". As for me, the subject of the controversy, I don't have any opinions as to what is stupid and what is not. All day long, I practice my latest ability: "International!"

Turkey Again

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This morning, just before noon, Sophia came back from Turkey (yes, again Turkey - see previous entries!). The ladies have been traveling all night, so she felt tired and dirty. But when we saw each other again, all discomforts were forgotten. I was so exited to see her back again, that I am afraid I made a complete fool out of myself. I yelled like a madman, jumped up and down and fluffed my feathers. Good to have you back Sophia! Now get some sleep, as long as you do it on the couch right here in my room... don't you dare to leave me and go to bed!!!


Feather Snapping

Lately, I have been falling into a nasty habit: I have started to mutilate my feathers on my chest and neck. Fortunately, I don't remove them, but I snap little pieces off, so that they start to look fringed on the edges. I am a very happy little creature and I have enough hobbies and toys to keep myself busy, but still I find the time to bite my feathers. The family has decided not to give it too much attention; they hope it will disappear again in time. They know I am healthy, happy and content. I get the right food and a great variety of veggies, am showered with attention and have a large cage, so that can't be it. They think the reason might be that I was taken away from my natural parents so young that I never got the change to learn what proper grooming means.

Lemonade?

In top secrecy, Hilke has been teaching me a new word. So today, when the family were eating together, Sophia said (as she has been for the past few days) that she thought I was saying something like "Menaaa". Hilke smiled and told her that for a few weeks now, the has been teaching me to say "Lemonade". It is not so clear yet, but I will improve, promised!

Phone Fun

Today, the family went to their Saturday meeting as usual. I am used to being alone for a couple of hours every week, but all the same I am always happy to see them back. So when they got home this afternoon and Sophia's best friend phoned her (the telephone being another reason to go out of my mind), I was having a ball. I made so much noise, that the two ladies couldn't even understand their own voice, let alone each other. I am afraid I was monopolizing the conversation somewhat - and the funny thing was that the louder Sophia started to talk, the noisier I became! The neighbors must have thought we were having a mega party, but it was just me, myself and I, and two ladies on the phone...

Aaaatcheeeee!!!

I have caught a terrible cold. All day long, I am sneezing and coughing. Haaaaa-CHEEEEEEE! Cough! Rattle! Don't you feel pity for me? Well, don't worry, I'll tell you a secret. I haven't really caught a cold, but it is just a sound I can't resist. This is Hilke's way of sneezing... and I just copied it! Do you hear me calling her name?

What's Up?

Things are moving fast now... I have been a slow learner, but lately I have really started to talk. In a few days, I have added another sentence to my vocabulary: "Wat is er?" (What's up?). Listen and be impressed!

Hate Showers!

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Have I mentioned lately what has become of my showering ritual? This morning, Jan and Sophia decided to give me my biweekly shower. Although I have never really enjoyed it, ever since Jan has bought a new spray bottle, I have started behaving like I am being slaughtered. This morning, it was even worse. I screamed and bit Sophia in her finger. She didn't budge an inch (although her finger almost lost an inch) and not until after the shower she noticed her dripping finger - and let me tell you it didn't drip with water! However, somehow (and I know I have said it before), I don't think I have heard the last of it. Those dreadful showers just seem to be necessary...


Laurel & Hardy

Although Sophia keeps talking about my talking abilities, I haven't neglected my whistling. One of my favorite songs is the Laurel and Hardy theme. Here's my version, enjoy!

Kiss!

I have learned a new word! This time, the family has not put in any effort to teach it to me, I just learned it myself. The word is "Kusje" (kiss). I use it all the time: kusje! To make perfectly clear what I mean, I make some kissing sounds to go with it. I'll be a real talker soon. Although the family didn't adopt me for my vocal abilities, it does make them happy to know that finally I can talk and am learning new things all the time. Don't worry folks, I won't stop learning!

Oh No, Sick!

While I am peacefully gobbling my food right now, the whole family is still shaking. What happened? None of us really knows... but let me describe the events. Early this evening, Sophia was reading next to my cage. Gradually, she became aware that I was breathing heavily as if I had been flying. At first she didn't pay much attention to it, for I had been very busy chewing on a rope and swinging in my cage. However, after a few minutes she realized that something was wrong. My chest was heaving and I had difficulties with breathing. Later still, I vomited a couple of times and tried to defecate every few seconds. Worried sick, with tears in her eyes, Sophia took me out of the cage and called Jan and Hilke. While I was sitting restlessly on her lap, the family suffered even more just watching me suffer. Jan and Sophia felt literally sick in their stomachs; Sophia was trembling so much that I could feel it while sitting on her knee. After an hour or so I started to recover: very, very …

Hilke!

Finally, I have learned anoter new word!!! Now, I can call the members of my family. The first thing I could say was "Jan, Coffee!". Then I learned to call "Sophia" and now I can say "Hilke" as well. It's about time I learn to talk - my family was beginning to think that I was going be the only non-talking parrot alive... well, I'm not! Hilke!

Phone Embarrassment

Sometimes, I can bring the family into embarrassing situations. The reason is, that I don't know when to keep quiet. My favorite way to be a nuisance is by giving a tremendously loud roar of laughter when Sophia is on the phone. Several times already she has had to explain to an angry listener that he or she is not being laughed at. At times they don't even believe it when she explains that it is "just" the family parrot that they hear; I sound much too real to them. Ah well, you can't please everybody.

Hilke Again

Hilke intrigues me. Whenever she is around, I am in silent awe and listen to all her sounds to practice them in my own time. I am learning to copy her voice, her sneezes, her laugh and her coughs. Nobody in the family can understand why she is my big example; after all, Jan and Sophia are the ones who take care of me most of the time.

Goodnight!

Last night, somehow, I didn't want to go to sleep. As usual, Sophia told me goodnight and switched off the lights. But, I refused to quiet down and when Sophia had switched off the light in her room, she could hear me climb and climb and climb. So, in the dark, she went to my cage, told me "goodnight" again and talked soothingly. Normally, she scratches my head when she tells me goodnight. And, even while I was blind as a bat, I went to the spot where her finger usually is and bowed my head. She scratched it for a few minutes and then I went back to my sleeping perch and she went back to bed. Soon, everything was peaceful and quiet around the house. It is so nice to know each other so well.

Anniversary

Reasons enough for joy: the night of the flashes, crashes and bangs has ended and a new day, new year and according to some new millennium has started. But there is more reason for joy: today is my second anniversary with the Van der Nent family!