My Two-Legged Pet

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baxter and I get along just fine. It took some adjusting on both our parts but now we co-exist.

Baxter came to live with me a year ago on my birthday. At first he cowered in his cage, backed away if I came too close. But he soon became comfortable in his new surroundings.

He's a small member of the parrot family, known as a parakeet. Tonight he's chirping, pecking at his reflection in one of his mirrors. He's flitting from perch to perch, alert and happy.

Baxter is especially perky from about suppertime until 11 p.m. He runs up and down his high perch, chirping softly.

He likes mirrors, pecks them as he admires the reflection of himself. Maybe he likes what he sees. His feathers are bright blue, but his flight feathers are outlined in a darker shade. He sports a bright yellow feather cap.

He amuses himself by playing with silver bells and beads and mirrors. One hanging bell he lifts from the side of his cage and flings it to the floor of the cage. It's a game with him. He waits for me to rehang the bell so that he can hurry over and fling it to the floor again and again.

I think he likes cartoons. As soon as the television is turned on during the daytime, he immediately chirps his pleasure. Sometimes I swear he talks to me. The other night he moved to the side of his cage nearest to me, then chirped loudly. He then moved to the bottom of the cage and perched on his bird seed cup. Then he climbed back up the side of the cage and looked at me. He repeated the same scenario for a couple of more times before I got his message.

He wanted more seed in his cup. He recognizes the rustle of the plastic bag where the seed is stored and becomes antsy while he waits for the cup to be filled. Almost before I get the cup back in the cage, he jumps down, eating from the cup before I get it positioned.

He sometimes tells me when he doesn't want to go to bed. Like the other night. As I picked up the small afghan used to cover his cage each night, he screeched his displeasure and moved back and forth on his perch. "Don't cover me. Don't cover me." It was obvious to me that he did not want me to place the cover on his cage. He wasn't ready to stop his play.

But once his cage is covered for the night, he is quiet. I peek under the cover and he has moved to his swing. That's where he perches and sleeps each night.

Baxter is a lot of company. He can't interact the way a dog or cat does but he's easier to care for. All a parakeet requires is a cage, fresh water and seed. Yes, he's messy. His cage needs to be cleaned every two or three days with new floor paper replaced. Sometimes he molts and tiny feathers float in the area around his cage. But his antics and song make up for the inconvenience.

Some parakeets can be taught to speak. I've had several parakeets that I taught to speak, but Baxter hasn't cooperated. Instead he likes to mimic sounds.

I must say he's a bird of a different sort. I thought he would be terrified of my son's dog, Boss Man. But he isn't. Baxter loves the dog to visit. He will cling to the side of his cage, trying to get as close to the dog as he possibly can. Often they are nose to nose.

Boss Man will bark and bark while Baxter chirps and sings.

That's my two legged friend.