I had two days off in a row this week!! I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you work in retail, believe me, it’s rare. It feels like spring break. I intended to tackle some projects that needed tackling. I actually tackled two. And they were, of course, bird projects.
New cage covers were desperately needed for Linus, my umbrella cockatoo, and the cockatiels, so I moved this to the top of the to-do list. I went to the quilting section at the fabric store and bought about 2 miles of dark broadcloth. Linus has a really big cage. He also has a really big beak and had shredded his cover beyond usefulness. He has a favorite side to his cage for sleeping, and there was so little fabric remaining on that side that he recently decided to move to the other side for a good night’s sleep. I know this because his back-end has been positioned over his water bowl all night for about a week now. I don’t think I need to say more. I constructed the cover and attached it to the cage using grommets and quick links.
The cockatiels. My sweet little darlings. The only thing worse that waking up to the horrors in Linus’s water dish is waking up to the cockatiel’s belting out a tune at 6:30am when I worked late and got to bed at 1 the night before. Don’t get me wrong. I love hearing their joyous little voices. Just not then. I made them a darker cover to encourage them to sleep a little later.
I was so excited when I went to bed last night, new cage covers in place, knowing I could sleep until I woke up rested. Well, that was the plan, until I woke up to my alarm clock buzzing at 6:45. Apparently, I had set it the night before out of habit. The good news is that I did not hear a peep from the cockatiels at 6:30…if that can be construed as good news. Oh, and by the way, I came down stairs to find that Linus had torn a hole in his new cover, right at his eye level, and every movement I made was being monitored by a blue eye ring surrounded by black cloth. Creepy.
Today’s project was toy making for the cockatoos. Linus was pouting this morning as if to say: “Mom, I have nothing to do with my beak.” I was thinking how he found something to do with it earlier that involved his new cage cover, but kept quiet. I went to the lumber store for a pile of 2X4s and cut enough 1″ pieces to fill a 10 gallon bin. I drilled holes into each piece so they could be strung onto chains. I made HUGE toys for both Linus and Theo, my goffins cockatoo, who didn’t even notice the wooden behemoth in her cage.
Linus was thrilled, though, and spent most of the day transporting bitten off chunks of wood to his stainless steel pail for further processing. I noticed about an hour ago that he has managed to give himself a black eye, something he does several times a year in the course of going to battle with his toys. Sometimes they hit back. He has already gone through about 7″ of wood, or the equivalent of 15 boxes of toothpicks (if I were counting, or thinking about going into that business). I guess we both had a productive day. Next project on the list: Easter baskets for the cockatoos, and Easter…boxes for the little guys.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.