We wear many hats as bird owners: we’re cooks, toy makers, housekeepers and behavioral analysts. I once read: “Yur day job iz how ya ern muney, yur reel job iz to spend it on yur handsum burd” by author Mango McCaw. If your parrot had to go out and find work (oh, the indignity!), what would he do?
I think this is what best suits my birds:
Theo, goffins cockatoo, 24
I used to think of Theo as a philosopher, quietly contemplating the things around her. Lately, though, I have thought of her as more of a novelist. Her active imagination has more than once created a scary monster out of an inanimate object, the latest being the bath brush in the shower. Yesterday it was a scaly, howling beast intent on savaging the world (or at least the bathroom), today it was just a personal hygiene tool. I also think that her remarkable measures of patience and tolerance would make her a valued school teacher, although story-time might cause the children to have nightmares.
Linus, umbrella cockatoo, 18
Linus, would be a fine woodworker, but I think engineering is his true calling. This bird can do things with his cage cover while I’m at work that defy the laws of physics. Cockatoos are known for their skills in this area, and for their flare for the dramatic, but that he is able to weave the fabric through a dozen cage bars, around his perch and meticulously through the eye-screw hole just baffles me. Then there was the knot I found tied at the end. He is very talented.
Libby, quaker parrot, 4
Quakers are uniquely qualified in the field of architecture, with a little interior designer thrown in. If you’ve ever seen one of the huge, multi-roomed, condo-like structures that quakers build on city transformers, you’d know what I’m talking about. Libby apparently didn’t get that contractor’s gene but is still an interesting and well rounded little bird. I think she would do any job well. As long as she was the boss. And the food availability was non-stop. A girl’s gotta keep up her strength.
Nikko and Visa, budgies, 2
Jamie and Dave’s budgies are hard to figure out. I have always seen them in the roles of the drowning swimmer (Nikko) and the lifeguard (Visa). When I first came to Orlando, Nikko had contracted a infection which required months of medication. After the Womachs left for their tour, I was the evil stranger who reached into the cage with a huge hand to capture and torture her. Visa took up the role as bodyguard and positioned himself between my hand and Nikko, threatening to bite if I proceeded.
Recently, I found Nikko in the cage with a toe injury. Visa was standing guard over her. It was days later that I discovered that Visa also inflicted the injury. So, who knows? Nikko has had hard life health-wise and might find it satisfying and rewarding to help the less fortunate. Visa would make an excellent prison inmate.
Tinky and DeeDee, cockatiels, 16
The cockatiels are not suited to work outside the home. Instead, they would prefer to be kept in the manner to which they are accustomed. The pampered life as the wives of an insanely rich man would work well for them.
It’s career day. What line of work is your parrot best suited to?
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.