What’s Your Bird Saying ~ Do You Speak Bird?

What’s Your Bird Saying ~ Do You Speak Bird?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Sometime between 6:30 and 7 AM every morning I briefly awake to take a pee, quench my morning mouth with a swig of sugar-free ginger ale, and uncover 4 bird cages – not necessarily in that order.

After tossing the birdcage covers in the closet I open Barney’s (cockatiel) cage door and for the only 2 times in any 24 hour period, he’ll hop on my finger allowing himself to be transported to the Booda rope perch atop his domicile birdcage.

Full transparency, my intention is always to go back to bed. 

Barney stays out all day until 7 PM – birdy bedtime when after “letting” him perform aerobatics across the loft until he tires.

He will land on the same perch he started the morning on, indicating to me I can, for the second time in a day, stick my finger out allowing me to put him back on the same perch I removed him from in the morning.

As most birds (and all animals) are motivated by food he knows a beefy spray millet chunk or 2 awaits him so going back into the cage is a reward in and of itself.

Barney spends most of the day on my headboard and yes we take great prophylactic measures so the bed linens see no poop.

Last week I talked about how occasionally he’ll hop onto the headrest of my giant office chair and if I’m sitting in it he’ll tap my head seeking attention.

If he is on his cage on his front-facing rope perch or atop the office chair and I’m about to sit down he will bow his head in search of scritches which is my best connection with him.

Over time he has allowed my fingers to pass further around his little neck and scritch deeper.

And that’s how Barney “speaks” to me.

Feathered factoid: Never scratch or pet your bird below the neck because from there it gets sexual.

After Barney, comes the budgies.

They love their aviary because they always easily return to it.

I will open the door and let them out so they can dive-bomb me while I’m trying to fall back asleep.

Barney will do the same (dive bomb me).

Something I find fascinating is that I can tell by the sound of wing flapping, the different species passing over my head.

The budgies are all competent fliers except for Jam the oldest female in the flock and despite that or because of that they all get locked up when I leave the room because we have lost Jam for what seems like an eternity because of her poor flying usually “lands” her under a piece of furniture in darkness.

We never got around to socializing the budgies so none are finger-tame but they tolerate us humans who provide food, water, and treats.

I’ll then open Keto’s (African ringneck) birdcage door which I’ll get to in a minute.

Chili remains locked in his cage because if not he’ll sneak into Keto’s cage and just squat.

This stresses Keto out who then shrieks until I remove Chili and place him back in his locked cage. 

This brings us to Keto’s “shrieking.”

It’s always the same the 4 rapid outbursts of sound, the only sounds that exceed my tinnitus levels BTW.

His positioning and the time of day are keys.

If it’s around 7:30 in the morning and I hear the shrieks, I know I accidentally let Chili out.

If it is around 9:30 in the morning the 4 short outbursts indicate that he’s ready to go downstairs to his work cage and more importantly his fresh veggie breakfast with nummy corn.

If it’s any time past 4 in the afternoon and he’s still downstairs, his vocalizations indicate that he’s ready to go back upstairs.

If it’s any time past 4 in the afternoon and he’s upstairs, he’ll fly to the top of Barney’s cage and look in his “yellow” dish and if there are not 4 or 5 grey striped sunflower seeds, you guessed it CHIRP-CHIRP-CHIRP-CHIRP.

This brings us to Chili who is expressive in his own right.

He’ll start moving rapidly amongst his perches, toys, and dishes in an ever-closing circle once I pull out the glass jar containing the magic sunflower seeds which I feed him one at a time and he gets his own before adding them to Keto’s “yellow” cup.

Because Keto’s door is open I have to feed the sunflower seeds to Chili through the locked cage bars.

Keto is a Ninja using only his beak to open the shell and down the meat.

Chili on the other hand is a more structured eater of sunflower seeds. He will grab one with his beak but it will immediately go to his left zygodactyl foot (using his right to stabilize) where after the shell is open he will take 3 or 4 bites of the small kernel while I dutifully stand there and patiently feed him one a time until he gets as many as Keto gets.


And so it goes. 

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

Mitch Rezman

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I love reading about your day with your birds. They are amazing friends. Thanks so much for the time it takes to write and for allowing us to be part of your day. Shirley

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